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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICALLY BASED INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT OF INVASIVE AQUATIC AND RIPARIAN WEEDS

Location: Exotic and Invasive Weeds Research

Title: Molecular evidence for a single genetic clone of invasive Arundo donax in the United States

Authors
item Ahmad, Riaz - UC DAVIS
item Liow, Pui Sze
item SPENCER, DAVID
item Jasieniuk, Marie - UC DAVIS

Submitted to: Aquatic Botany
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 22, 2007
Publication Date: February 1, 2008
Citation: Ahmad, R., Liow, P., Spencer, D.F., Jasieniuk, M. 2008. Molecular evidence for a single genetic clone of invasive Arundo donax in the United States. Aquatic Botany. 88:113-120.

Interpretive Summary: Giant reed is an aggressive invasive weed of stream-side habitats throughout the southern half of the United States from California to Maryland. To provide insight into the potential for biological control of giant reed, genetic variation in plants sampled from a wide geographical area in the United States was analyzed using two molecular marker systems. Invasive individuals from 15 states as well as four populations in southern France were genetically fingerprinted using 22 primer combinations. With the exception of simple mutations detected in five plants, giant reed exhibited a single fingerprint. This suggests that there was a single introduction or multiple introductions of a single genetic clone. Widespread geographic distribution of a single clone agrees with historical accounts of the introduction of giant reed and with the lack of sexual reproduction reported for this species in North America. The genetic uniformity of giant reed suggests that classical biological control of the species could be successful. A lack of genetic diversity simplifies identification of native source populations to search for natural enemies and reduces variability in establishment and effectiveness of biological control agents associated with genetic variation in the host plant.

Technical Abstract: Arundo donax (giant reed) is an aggressive invasive weed of riparian habitats throughout the southern half of the United States from California to Maryland. Native to Asia, the species is believed to have been introduced into North America from Europe. To provide insight into the potential for biological control of A. donax, genetic variation in plants sampled from a wide geographical area in the United States was analyzed using Sequence Related Amplification Polymorphism (SRAP) and Transposable Element (TE)-based molecular markers. Invasive individuals from 15 states as well as four populations in southern France were genetically fingerprinted using 10 SRAP and 12 TE-based primer combinations. With the exception of simple mutations detected in five plants, A. donax exhibited a single multilocus fingerprint, suggesting a single introduction or multiple introductions of a single genetic clone. Widespread geographic distribution of a single clone is consistent with historical accounts of the introduction of A. donax and with the lack of sexual reproduction reported for this species in North America. The genetic uniformity of invasive A. donax suggests that classical biological control of the species could be successful. A lack of genetic diversity simplifies identification of native source populations to search for natural enemies and reduces variability in establishment and effectiveness of biological control agents associated with genetic variation in the host plant.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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