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Abstract Detail

Molecular Ecology and Evolution

Mardonovich, Sandra [1], Tepe, Eric [2], Moore, Richard [3].

Morphological and genetic variation in natural Carica papaya populations from Panama.

The native biodiversity of a species can be affected by cultivated varieties that have escaped into the wild. These escapees can pose a threat to the natural genetic and morphological diversity of the species through gene flow and genetic introgression of cultivated traits into natural varieties. Carica papaya L., commonly know as papaya, has been hypothesized to originate from Mesoamerica, where it is both cultivated and found in disturbed natural areas where it acts as a pioneer species. Thus, papaya serves as a model to study the effects of gene flow among cultivars and natural populations. Previous observations made on the morphology of naturally occurring papaya suggest that papaya found near the purported center of domestication in northern Mesoamerica have fruit that are characteristically small, similar in size to a golf ball. In contrast, fruit found further south resemble the larger-fruited cultivated papaya. Small fruited papaya, though, have been reported as far south as Costa Rica, questioning this prediction. Recent sampling of morphological diversity of natural papaya in Panama further questions the hypothesis that natural papaya populations sampled further south exhibit traits more commonly found in domestic papaya varieties. We characterized both qualitative morphological traits (fruit shape, fruit color, etc.) and quantitative morphological traits (fruit diameter, length of mature petiole, etc.) of papaya sampled in the southernmost extent of papaya’s distribution in Central America. We found that populations varied significantly in some traits, such as leaf petiole color and leaf shape. Furthermore, fruits were almost universally small and seedy, similar to the smaller fruited papaya found in neighboring Costa Rica. Currently underway is the assessment of the levels of genetic diversity among Panamanian papaya populations and identification of any shared ancestry with cultivars. 

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1 - Miami University, Biology, 700 E. High Street, Oxford, OH, 45056, USA
2 - University of Cincinnati, Biology, 614 Rieveschl Hall, Cincinnati, OH, 45221, USA
3 - Miami University, Biology, 700 E. High Street, Oxford, OH, 45056, United States

Crop wild relatives
pioneer species
gene flow.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Topics
Session: P
Location: Eyrie/Boise Centre
Date: Monday, July 28th, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: PME005
Abstract ID:410
Candidate for Awards:Genetics Section Poster Award

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