An evaluation of Sceptridium dissectum (Ophioglossaceae) with ISSR markers: Implications for Sceptridium systematics

Michael S. Barker, Warren D. Hauk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Sceptridium dissectum, the most variable North American grapefern species, demonstrates variation in degree of blade dissection, blade color, pinnule shape, and pinnule margins. Historically, various morphologies have been included within S. dissectum. For example, Clausen's monograph recognized five infraspecific taxa in S. dissectum, of which only the morphologies of variety dissectum and obliquum are currently retained. However, the taxonomic status of the two varieties has been debated. We used ISSR (Inter-Simple Sequence Repeat) markers to assess the genetic distinctness of S. dissectum var. dissectum and var. obliquum in 17 Ohio populations. Five ISSR primers generated 69 reproducible loci. In UPGMA analyses and AMOVA, S. dissectum var. dissectum individuals did not cluster separately from var. obliquum individuals, nor did individuals from the same population cluster together. ISSR markers revealed levels of population genetic structure in S. dissectum similar to levels detected by previous isozyme investigations. Our results concur with recent treatments of S. dissectum that do not formally recognize infraspecific taxa, and may bring into question current species circumscriptions in Sceptridium. We illustrate the use of ISSR markers for examining taxonomic boundaries in Sceptridium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Fern Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


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