Date of Award:

5-2001

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Biology

Advisor/Chair:

Paul G. Wolf

Abstract

Isolated populations have potential to become new species that should have less genetic variation than their ancestors. Small populations are more likely to lose genetic variation, which is, thus, expected to be greater in ancestors. Aliciella caespitosa and A. tenuis, two endemic species, may be derived from small populations of A. subnuda, a widespread species. Chloroplast DNA sequences were used to test this hypothesis. Allozyme data were used to compare genetic variation and numbers of alleles. Chloroplast data do not support the proposed relationships between A. subnuda and the other two species. Allozyme data were not more variable in A. subnuda. The data suggest that A. tenuis is derived from A. caespitosa, although the former did not show lower allozyme diversity. I detected fewer alleles in A. tenuis. These data suggest that the original population of A. tenuis was not small enough to lose genetic variation relative to its progenitor.

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