Low Variability of Internal Transcribed Spacer Rdna and TrnL (UAA) Intron Sequences of Several Taxa in the Festuca ovina Aggregate (Poaceae)


Identification and classification of numerous Festuca species is still a difficult problem due to the close morphological resemblance. The most difficult fine fescues to identify belong to the Festuca ovina aggregate, which is the largest group in the genus Festuca. Many taxons are considered to be separate species based on quantitative taxonomic characters, differences in ploidy level or the structure of sclerenchyma cells.

In order to evaluate the taxonomic value of DNA-based markers, sequence analysis of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) region and the chloroplast trnL (UAA) intron was performed in the ten most problematic fine fescues belonging to the Festuca ovina aggregate. Intraspecific ITS variants were found in a single case while in other cases only intragenomic ITS polymorphisms were detected with 1–2 ambiguous positions. Among the sequences of the trnL (UAA) intron even intragenomic polymorphisms were not detected in any of the Festuca species studied. Thus, the results do not support the species status of these ten taxa.


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We would like to thank Mr. Barnabás Wichmann for his technical assistance. Support for this work was provided by the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA TS040887, T034238, F038010) and the Hungarian Ministry of Education (FKFP 380/2000).

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Correspondence to L. E. Heszky.

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Galli, Z., Penksza, K., Kiss, E. et al. Low Variability of Internal Transcribed Spacer Rdna and TrnL (UAA) Intron Sequences of Several Taxa in the Festuca ovina Aggregate (Poaceae). BIOLOGIA FUTURA 57, 57–69 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1556/ABiol.57.2006.1.6

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  • Molecular taxonomy
  • Festuca ovina aggregate
  • ploidy level
  • internal transcribed spacer (ITS)
  • trnL (UAA) intron