The Morphological and Genetic Variation of a Species of Lettuce (Lactuca undulata Ledeb.): Geographically Widespread but Locally Endangered

Document Type : Research Article


Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Golestan University, Gorgan, Iran


Lactuca undulata Ledeb. (Asteraceae) is an annual plant that has valuable compounds such as caffeic acid and its derivatives. This study aims to understand if there is detectable genetic diversity in the Iranian populations of L. undulata. For this purpose, the diversity of five L. undulata populations collected from different regions of Iran was evaluated based on the morphological characteristics and ISSR markers. A common garden experiment was conducted to assess the morphological variation of five L. undulata populations. The results of the study of morphological features showed that most of the studied traits have a high diversity among populations. In the PCoA performed, five populations of L. undulata were identified based on their morphological characteristics. In genetic analyses, using ISSR markers, a total of 60 bands were produced using four primers. The percentage of total polymorphism was 100% and no monomorphic band was obtained. The Nei gene diversity index (H) and Shannon diversity index (I) indicated high genetic diversity (0.24) in the populations. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed that 73% of the genetic diversity was within the populations and another 27% was among the populations. The highest and the lowest genetic diversity were observed in Cheshmeh Ali and Qom populations, respectively. PCoA nearly separated genetically different populations into distinct groups. Five L. undulata populations were found to differ significantly in their morphological and genetic polymorphism. The studied populations were found in highly degraded habitats with a limited number of individuals. Degradation and loss of habitats are the major concerns in determining the conservation status of the species in general and at the population level in particular.


Akhani H. 1998. Plant biodiversity of Golestan national park. PhD. thesis, University of Munich, Munich, Germany.
Al-Redhaimam K, Motawei MI, Shinawy M, Abdel, LTH. 2005. Assessment of genetic variation and presence of nitrate reductase gene (nr) in different lettuce genotypes using pcr-based markers. J Food Agric Environ 3:134-136.
Bhellum B, Singh B. 2015. Taxonomic novelties of the genus Lactuca L. in jammu and kashmir (India): diversity, phenology and distribution. Current Life Sci 1:93-102.
Bornet B, Branchard M. 2001. Nonanchored inter simple sequence repeat (ISSR) markers: reproducible and specific tools for genome fingerprinting. Plant Mol Biol Rep 19: 209-215.
Brito FDA, Silva-mann R, Aparecida D, Nizio DC, Arrigoni MDF, Blank AF. 2018. Molecular analyses used in genetic diversity studies of bioactive plants of Verbenaceae and Lamiaceae: a review. Annal Rev Res 3:555-607.
Cody ML, Overton JMC. 1996. Short-term evolution of reduced dispersal in island plant populations. J Ecol 84:53-61.
Ding G, Zhang D, Yu Y, Zhao L, Zhang B. 2013. Analysis of genetic variability and population structure of the endemic medicinal Limonium sinense using molecular markers. Gene. 520:189-193.
Doležalová I, Lebeda A, Janeček J, Číhalíková J, Křístková E, Vránová O. 2002. Variation in chromosome numbers and nuclear DNA contents in genetic resources of Lactuca L. species (Asteraceae). Gene Resour Crop Evol 49: 385-397.
Doležalová I, Křístková E, Lebeda A, Vinter V, Astley D, Boukema IW. 2003. Basic morphological descriptors for genetic resources of wild Lactuca spp. Plant Genet Resour Newsletter 134:1-9.
Doležalová I, Lebeda A, Křístková E, Novotná A. 2005. Morphological variation of Lactuca Serriola populations from some european countries. P.458 in XVII International Botanical Congress. Vienna, Austria.
Frankham R, Jonathan D, Ballou D, Briscoe A, McInnes KH. 2002. Introduction to conservation Genetics. Cambridge University Press.
Govindaraj M, Vetriventhan M, Srinivasan M. 2015. Importance of genetic diversity assessment in crop plants and its recent advances: an overview of its analytical perspectives. Genet Res Int 2015:1-14.
Gross CL, Nelson PN, Haddadchi A, Fatemi M.  2012. Somatic mutations contribute to genotypic diversity in sterile and fertile populations of the threatened shrub, Grevillea rhizomatosa (Proteaceae). Ann Bot 109:331-342.
Hamrick JL, Godt MJW, Sherman-Broyles SL. 1992. Factors influencing levels of genetic diversity in woody plant species. New For 6:95-124.
Hamrick JL, Godt MJW. 1997. Allozyme diversity in cultivated crops. Crop Sci 37: 26-30.
Han YY, Chen Z, Lv S, Ning K, Ji X, Liu X, Wang Q, Liu R, Fan S, Zhang X. 2016. MADS-Box genes and gibberellins regulate bolting in Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L). Frontier Plant Sci 7: 1889.
Hao JH, Zhang LL, Li PP, Sun YC, Li JK, Qin XX, Wang L, Qi ZY, Xiao S, Han YY, Liu CJ, Fan SX. 2018. Quantitative proteomics analysis of Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) reveals molecular basis-associated auxin and photosynthesis with bolting induced by high temperature. Int J Mol Sci 19: 2967.
Hossein-Pour A, Karahan F, İlhan E, İlçim A, Haliloğlu K. 2019. Genetic structure and diversity of Adonis L. (Ranunculaceae) populations collected from turkey by inter-primer binding site (IPBS) retrotransposon markers. Turk J Bot 43:585-596.
Hwang SJ, Yoo K, QyoSoon H, Kim HJ, Lim T. 2002. Intraspecific relationships of Lactuca Sativa cultivars based on external morphology and RAPD analyses. J Korean Soc Hort Sci 43:575-581.
Jemelková M, Kitner M, Křístková E, Beharav A, Lebeda A. 2018. Genetic variability and distance between Lactuca serriola L. populations from sweden and slovenia assessed by SSR and AFLP markers. Acta Bot Croati 77:172-180.
Kinoshita A, Richter R. 2020. Genetic and molecular basis of floral induction in Arabidopsis thaliana. J Exp Bot 71: 2490-2504.
Koopman WJM, Zevenbergen MJ, Van den Berg RG. 2001. Species relationships in Lactuca s.l. (Lactuceae, Asteraceae) inferred from AFLP fingerprints. Am J Bot 88:1881-1887.
Křístková E, Lebeda A, Novotná A, Doležalová I, Berka T. 2014. Morphological variation of Lactuca serriola L. achenes as a function of their geographic origin. Act Bot Croat 73: 232-250.
Lebeda A, Doležalová I, Křístková E, Dehmer KJ, Astley D, van de Wiel CCM, van Treuren R.  2007. Acquisition and ecological characterization of Lactuca serriola L. germplasm collected in the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands and United Kingdom. Genet Res Crop Evol 54:555-562.
Lebeda A, Kitner M, Křístková E, Doležalová I, Beharav A.  2012. Genetic polymorphism in Lactuca Aculeata populations and occurrence of natural putative hybrids between L. Aculeata and L. Serriola. Biochem Syst Ecol 42:113-123.
Lebeda A, Mieslerová B, Petrželová I, Korbelová P. 2013. Host specificity and virulence variation in populations of lettuce powdery mildew pathogen (Golovinomyces Cichoracearum s. Str.) from prickly lettuce (Lactuca Serriola). Mycol Prog 123:533-545.
Liang XY, Zhang XQ, Bai SQ, Huang LK, Luo XM, Ji YL, Jiang F. 2014. Genetic diversity and relationship of chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) using sequence-related amplified polymorphism markers. Genet Mol Res 13:7736-7746.
Mantel N. 1967. The Detection of disease clustering and a generalized regression approach. Can Res 27:209-220.
Novotná A, Doležalová I, Lebeda A, Kršková M, Berka T. 2011. Morphological variability of achenes of some european populations of Lactuca serriola L. Flora 206:473-483.
O’Hanlon PC, Peakall R, Briese DT. 2000. A review of new PCR-based genetic markers and their utility to weed ecology. Weed Res 40:239-254.
Peakall R, Smouse PE. 2012. GenALEx 6.5: genetic analysis in excel. population genetic software for teaching and research-an update. Bioinform 28:2537-2539.
Ramezannezhad R, Aghdasi M, Fatemi M. 2019. An investigation on cichoric acid, chlorogenic, caffeic acid content and antioxidant activity in some iranian native species compared to Echinacea Purpurea L. in different developmental stages. IJMAPR 6: 909-923.
Rauscher G, Simko I. 2013. Development of genomic SSR markers for fingerprinting lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) cultivars and mapping genes. BMC Plant Biol 13:11-13.
Safavi SR, Asadi R, Naseh Y, Jafari E, Heydari N. 2013. Flora of Iran (Vol. 77), Asteraceae tribe Cichorieae. Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands Press.
Sharma S, Pankaj K, Geetika G, Kumar R, Srivastava DK 2018. Assessment of genetic diversity in Lettuce (Lactuca Sativa L.) germplasm using RAPD markers. 3 Biotechnol 8:9-15.
Sheidai M, Naji M, Noormohammadi Z, Nouroozi M, Ghasemzadeh-Baraki S. 2016. Contemporary inter-specific hybridization between Cirsium Aduncum and C. Haussknechtii (Asteraceae): evidence from molecular and morphological data. Genetika. 482:497-514.
Solouki M, Mehdikhani H, Zeinali H, Emamjomeh AA 2008. Study of genetic diversity in Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) based on morphological traits and molecular markers. Sci Hort 117: 281-287.
Souframanien J, Gopalakrishna T. 2004. A comparative analysis of genetic diversity in blackgram genotypes using RAPD and ISSR markers. Theor Appl Genet 109:1687-1693.
Sung JS, Hur OS, Ryu KY, Baek HJ, Choi S, Kim SG, Luitel BP, Ko HC, Gwak JG, Rhee JH. 2016. Variation in phenotypic characteristics and contents of sesquiterpene lactones in Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) germplasm. Korean J Plant Res 26: 979-989.
Tardin FD, Dessune F, Teixeira A, Gonzaga M, Celeste M, Vidigal G, Daher RF, Scapim A, Júnior AT, Pereira MJ, Vidigal GMC, Scapim CA. 2003. Genetic diversity and determination of the optimum number of RAPD markers in Lettuce (Lactuca Sativa L.). Acta Sci Agron 25:1-5.