J Syst Evol

• Research Article •    

A cytosystematic study of the Dianthus virgineus complex (Caryophyllaceae) in the Central Mediterranean

Jacopo Franzoni1*, Giovanni Astuti2, Gianluigi Bacchetta3, Giulio Barone4, Fabrizio Bartolucci5, Liliana Bernardo6, Angelino Carta1, Fabio Conti5, Gianniantonio Domina4, Božo Frajman7, Gianpietro Giusso del Galdo8, Duilio Iamonico9, Mauro Iberite9, Luigi Minuto10, Marco Sarigu3, Ana Terlević11, Alessia Turini1, Lucia Varaldo10, Daniel Volgger7, and Lorenzo Peruzzi1   

  1. 1 PLANTSEED Lab, Department of Biology, University of Pisa, Via Derna 1, Pisa 56126, Italy;
    2 Botanic Garden and Museum, University of Pisa, Via Luca Ghini 13, Pisa 56126, Italy;
    3 Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity(CCB), University of Cagliari, Viale S. Ignazio da Laconi 11-13, Cagliari 09123, Italy;
    4 Department of Agricultural, Food, and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, ed. 4, Palermo 90128, Italy;
    5 Floristic Research Centre of the Apennines(School of Bioscience and Veterinary Medicine, University of Camerino-Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park), Via Prov. Km 4. 2, 67021 Barisciano, L'Aquila, Italy;
    6 DiBEST, University of Calabria, Arcavacata di Rende, Cosenza 87030, Italy;
    7 Department of Botany, University of Innsbruck, Sternwartestraße 15, Innsbruck A-6020, Austria;
    8 Department of Geological, Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Catania, Via A. Longo 19, Catania 95125, Italy;
    9 Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University of Roma, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, Roma 00185, Italy ;
    10 DISTAV, University of Genova, Corso Europa 26, Genova 16132, Italy;
    11 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Trg Marka Marulića 20/II, Zagreb 10000, Croatia
    *Author for correspondence. E-mail:jacopo.franzoni@phd.unipi.it
  • Received:2023-06-26 Accepted:2023-09-07 Online:2023-10-23

Abstract: European wild carnations (Dianthus) are represented by a high number of taxa organized in unresolved taxonomies. In particular, taxa belonging to the Dianthus virgineus L. complex in the Central Mediterranean have been delimited mainly with qualitative morphological data and still await quantitative investigations, which are vital to understand boundaries and relations among plant diversity groups. Here, we examine the phenotypic features of nuclear genome organization testing for species boundaries in this complex. We have studied the chromosome number, the total haploid length (THL), and the relative genome size (RGS) in 122 populations belonging to 25 out of 33 taxa of the complex. All the studied populations have 2n = 2x = 30 chromosomes, and the THL ranges from 14.09 to 20.71 μm. Genome size estimations support the absence of polyploidization events, but show a certain degree of variation (0.318-0.423 arbitrary units). The RGS variation is not in agreement with current taxonomic treatment, but rather shows a geographical pattern, with higher values in Sicily and Sardinia. No correlation between the THL and the RGS was detected, possibly due to the stable chromosome number and the small size of chromosomes. A number of evolutionary unique groups lower than the number of currently accepted taxa may be hypothesized.

Key words: cytogenetics, genome size, karyosystematics, Mediterranean, plant evolution, taxonomy