Analysis of phenotypic and genetic polymorphism among accessions of saltgrass (Distichlis spicata)

Assael Ram, Michele Zaccai, Dov Pasternak, Amnon Bustan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Morphological and genetic analyses were applied on 37 saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) accessions collected from distant locations throughout the American continent in order to: 1) develop and identify morphologic and genetic profiles for the saltgrass genotypes; 2) characterize the genetic distance among saltgrass accessions within the given germplasm collection; and 3) identify a possible linkage between patterns of genetic and eco-geographical parameters. Analysis based on 70 RAPD markers revealed broad polymorphism among the genotypes and enabled their individual characterization. A UPGMA dendrogram clustered the genotypes into groups according to a general pattern of their geographical origin. Yet, only the group of Californian accessions was significantly distinct from other groups, as determined by χ 2 tests. Various statistical analyses indicated that only minor genetic differences existed between seashore and desert saltgrass genotypes, supporting that these two eco-geographical types belong to the same species, Distichlis spicata. Our results suggest that genetic interactions exist between geographically distant saltgrass populations, in spite of the dominance of clonal reproduction in this species. The contribution of dioecy, seed production, and epizoochory to the distribution patterns of saltgrass is discussed at the geographic and at the genetic levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-699
Number of pages13
JournalGenetic Resources and Crop Evolution
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2004


  • Dendrogram
  • Distichlis spicata
  • Epizoochory
  • Genetic distance
  • Halophyte
  • RAPD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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