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AFLP-based differentiation of tropical African Festuca species compared to the European Festuca complex

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For the first time amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) fingerprinting is applied to classify tropical African Festuca species. Five afro-alpine narrow- and two afro-montane broad-leaved species from Uganda and Ethiopia are compared to ten European grass species. A principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) accounts for 62.5% with its first three coordinates. The PCoA and the neighbor-joining (NJ) distinguish the five narrow-leaved African Festuca species from all other species. The broad-leaved African Festuca africana and Festuca simensis are linked to the broad-leaved European species through Festuca altissima and Festuca gigantea, respectively. The narrow- and broad-leaved European species are separated as expected in the NJ. One narrow-leaved African alpine species recently described appears merged (i.e. Festuca richardii with Festuca abyssinica). We provide chromosome numbers for all seven Ugandan species and compare taxonomy and AFLP classification. Our most striking result is that the narrow-leaved African Festuca species are unique and not clustering with the narrow-leaved European species.

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We thank the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) Project to Makerere University Department of Botany and the Norwegian Council of Universities’ Committee for Development Research and Education (NUFU) Project 63/2003 for their financial support. We also thank Kari Vollan and Jørn Henrik Sønstebø for technical assistance with the AFLP method and figures. Part of the taxonomic work was carried out at the Kew Herbarium, and we greatly appreciate discussions with Dr. Sylvia Phillips and Dr. Tom Cope.

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Correspondence to Manfred Heun.

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Communicated by A. Charcosset.

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Namaganda, M., Lye, K.A., Friebe, B. et al. AFLP-based differentiation of tropical African Festuca species compared to the European Festuca complex. Theor Appl Genet 113, 1529–1538 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00122-006-0400-5

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