No differences in genetic diversity of Cotoneaster franchetii (Rosaceae) shrubs between native and non-native ranges
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It is commonly assumed that plants have more genetic diversity in their native range than in areas where they have been introduced due to founder effects. However, few studies have proven this assumption and included the comparison between non-native and native ranges. We analyzed AFLP fingerprint patterns of 149 individuals from five native (China) and five non-native (Argentina) populations of Cotoneaster franchetii, a shrub which successfully invades different habitats and forms extensive monospecific stands. We compared genetic diversity estimates and assessed genetic differentiation among populations by inspecting FST values and conducting a PCoA, an AMOVA and a Mantel test. No evidence was found for reduced genetic diversity in non-native populations while the PCoA revealed two distinct groups, reflecting their Chinese and Argentine origin. The exceptions were ten individuals from two Chinese populations that clustered within the Argentine populations, supporting the idea of multiple introductions from China to Argentina.