Skip to main content Accessibility help

Genetic Variation in Invasive Populations of Yellow Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) in the Western United States

  • Sarah M. Ward (a1), Scott D. Reid (a1), Judy Harrington (a1), Jason Sutton (a2) and K George Beck (a2)...


Intraspecific genetic variation may contribute significantly to invasiveness and control problems, but has been characterized to date in relatively few invasive weed species. We examined 56 intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) loci in 220 individuals from 11 invading populations of yellow toadflax sampled across five western states. All populations showed high levels of genetic diversity. Estimated values for Shannon's diversity measure ranged from 0.217 to 0.388, and for expected heterozygosity from 0.178 to 0.260. Nei's total gene diversity index (H T), on the basis of all individuals across all populations, was 0.267. Partitioning of genetic variance using analysis of molecular variance revealed 1.7% of genetic variation among regional population groups, 29.1% among populations within groups, and 69.2% within populations, consistent with expectations for an outcrossing species but suggesting little geographic differentiation. Pairs of adjacent individuals identical at all ISSR loci that appeared to be ramets of a single clone were detected in only one population. This indicates that patch expansion in yellow toadflax is driven more by sexual reproduction via seed than by rhizomatous clonal spread, at least at the spatial scale of sampling for this study. Eight populations had significant values for Mantel's R at P = 0.05, suggesting some fine-scale positive genetic structuring, possibly from restricted gene flow. Population clustering on the basis of Nei's genetic distance between populations and unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean did not reflect geographic location. It is likely that multiple introductions of this species have occurred across the Intermountain West, followed by extensive genetic recombination. High levels of genetic diversity within yellow toadflax populations pose management challenges, as already seen in reports of variable response to herbicide application and limited impacts of biocontrol agent releases.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author's E-mail:


Hide All
Arnold, R. M. 1982. Pollination, predation and seed set in Linaria vulgaris (Scrophulariaceae). Am. Midl. Nat. 107:360369.
Barrett, S. C. H. and Kohn, J. R. 1991. Genetic and evolutionary consequences of small population size in plants: Implications for conservation. Pages 330 in Falk, D. A. and Holsinger, K. E. Genetics and Conservation of Rare Plants. New York Oxford University Press.
Bassam, B. J. and Caetano-Anolles, G. 1993. Silver staining of DNA in polyacrylamide gels. Appl. Biochem. and Biotech. 42:181188.
Clapham, A. R., Tutin, T. G., and Warburg, E. F. 1957. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge, U.K. Cambridge University Press. 1591.
Dice, L. R. 1945. Measures of the amount of ecological association between species. Ecology. 26:297302.
Docherty, Z. 1982. Self-incompatibility in Linaria . Heredity. 49:349352.
Doyle, J. J. and Doyle, J. L. 1987. A rapid DNA isolation procedure for small quantities of fresh leaf tissue. Phytochem. Bull. 19:1115.
Durka, W., Bossdorf, O., Prati, D., and Auge, H. 2005. Molecular evidence for multiple introductions of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata, Brassicaceae) to North America. Mol. Ecol. 14:16971706.
Ellstrand, N. C. and Schierenbeck, K. A. 2000. Hybridization as stimulus for the evolution of invasiveness in plants. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A. 97:70437050.
Fernald, M. L. 1905. Some recently introduced weeds. Trans. Mass. Hort. Soc. Part. 1:1122.
Fisher, R. A. 1930. The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection. Oxford, UK Clarendon Press. 291.
Frankham, R. 2005. Resolving the genetic paradox in invasive species. Heredity. 94:385.
Genton, B. J., Shykoff, J. A., and Giraud, T. 2005. High genetic diversity in French invasive populations of common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, as a result of multiple sources of introduction. Mol. Ecol. 14:42754285.
Gupta, M., Chyi, Y-S., Romero-Severson, J., and Owen, J. L. 1994. Amplification of DNA markers from evolutionarily diverse genomes using single primers of simple-sequence repeats. Theor. Appl. Genet. 89:9981006.
Hamrick, J. L. and Godt, M. J. 1989. Allozyme diversity in plant species. Pages 4363. in Brown, A. H. D., Clegg, M. T., Kahler, A. L., and Weir, B. S. Plant Population Genetics, Breeding, and Genetic Resources. Sunderland, MA Sinauer.
Hamrick, J. L. and Godt, M. J. 1996. Effects of life history traits on genetic diversity in plant species. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B. 351:12911298.
Hettwer, U. and Gerowitt, B. 2004. An investigation of genetic variation in Cirsium arvense field patches. Weed Res. 44:289297.
Hollingsworth, M. L. and Bailey, J. P. 2000. Evidence for massive clonal growth in the invasive weed Fallopia japonica (Japanese knotweed). Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 133:463472.
Hulten, E. and Fries, M. 1986. Atlas of the North European vascular plants. Volume III. Koenigsteín, Germany Koeltz. 197.
Lajeunesse, S. E. 1999. Dalmatian and yellow toadflax. Pages 202216. in Sheley, R. L. and Petroff, J. K. Biology and Management of Noxious Rangeland Weeds. Corvallis, OR Oregon State University Press. 438.
Lee, C. E. 2002. Evolutionary genetics of invasive species. Trends in Ecol. and Evol. 17:386391.
Lynch, M. and Milligan, B. G. 1994. Analysis of population structure with RAPD markers. Mol. Ecol. 3:9199.
Mengistu, L. W. and Messersmith, C. G. 2002. Genetic diversity of kochia. Weed Sci. 50:498–350.
Nadeau, L. and King, J. R. 1991. Seed dispersal and seedling establishment of Linaria vulgaris Mill. Can. J. Plant Sci. 71:771782.
Nei, M. 1972. Genetic distance between populations. Am. Nat. 106:283292.
Nei, M. 1978. Estimation of average heterozygosity and genetic distance from a small number of individuals. Genetics. 89:583590.
Pappert, R. A., Hamrick, J. L., and Donovan, L. A. 2000. Genetic variation in Pueraria lobata (Fabaceae), an introduced, clonal, invasive plant of the southeastern United States. Am. J. Bot. 87:12401245.
Parker, R. and Peabody, D. 1983. Yellow toadflax and Dalmatian toadflax. Pacific Northwest Coop. Ext. Bull. 135. Pullman, WA Washington State University.
Peakall, R. and Smouse, P. 2005. GenAlEx 6: genetic analysis in Excel. Population genetic software for teaching and research. Mol. Ecol. Notes. 6:288295.
Poulin, J., Weller, S. G., and Sakai, A. K. 2005. Genetic diversity does not affect the invasiveness of fountain grass (Pennisetum setaceum) in Arizona, California and Hawaii. Divers. Distrib. 11:241247.
Ren, M. X., Zhang, Q. G., and Zhang, D. Y. 2005. Random amplified polymorphic DNA markers reveal low genetic variation and a single dominant genotype in Eichornia crassipes populations throughout China. Weed Res. 45:236244.
Sakai, A. K., Allendorf, F. W., Holt, J. S., et al. 2001. The population biology of invasive species. Ann. Rev. Ecol. Syst. 32:305332.
Sebastian, J. R. and Beck, K. G. 1998. Yellow toadflax control with metsulfuron, metsulfuron tank mixes, picloram, quinclorac, 2,4-D, or dicamba. Res. Prog. Rep. West. Soc. Weed Sci. 24.
Sebastian, J. R. and Beck, K. G. 1999. The influence of picloram or picloram plus 2,4-D applied for 1, 2 or 3 years on cover, density and control of yellow toadflax on Colorado rangeland. Res. Prog. Rep. West. Soc. Weed Sci. 3637.
Shannon, C. E. and Weaver, W. 1949. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Urbana, IL University of Illinois Press. 125.
Sun, J. H., Li, Z-C., Jewett, D. K., Britton, K. O., Ye, W. H., and Ge, X-J. 2005. Genetic diversity of Pueraria lobata (kudzu) and closely related taxa as revealed by inter-simple sequence repeat analysis. Weed Res. 45:255260.
Sutton, J. R., Stohlgren, T. J., and Beck, K. G. 2007. Predicting yellow toadflax infestations in the Flat Tops Wilderness of Colorado. Biol. Invasions. 9:783793.
Thompson, S. K. 2002. Sampling. 2nd ed. New York Wiley. 367.
Ward, S. M. 2006. Molecular marker and DNA sequencing methods. Pages 347369. in Motley, T. J. and Cross, H. Darwin's Harvest. New York Columbia University Press.
Wilson, L. M., Sing, S. E., Piper, G. L., Hansen, R. W., De Clerck-Floate, R., MacKinnon, D. K., and Randall, C. 2005. Biology and Biological Control of Dalmatian and Yellow Toadflax. USDA Forest Service, FHTET-05-13.
Zhivotovsky, L. A. 1999. Estimating population structure in diploids with multilocus dominant DNA markers. Mol. Ecol. 8:907913.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed