Genetic Structure of the Liriope muscari Polyploid Complex and the Possibility of Its Genetic Disturbance in Japan

Keita Watanabe, Makoto Yaneshita, Tetsuo Denda, Masatsugu Yokota, Shun K. Hirota, Yoshihisa Suyama, Yoshihiko Tsumura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anthropogenic activities, such as the movement of plants through greening, can result in genetic disturbance that can interfere with local adaptation in wild populations. Although research is underway to prevent genetic disturbance associated with greening, genetic disturbance of intraspecific polyploidy, which is estimated to be present in 24% of vascular plants, has not been well studied. Liriope muscari is a polyploid complex with known diploid (2n = 36), tetraploid (2n = 72), and hexaploid (2n = 108) forms. The plants of this species tolerate dry and hot conditions and are therefore frequently used for greening and gardening. However, the distribution of this polyploid in Japan, its genetic structure, and genetic disturbance are not known. In this study, we investigated the polyploidy distribution and genetic structure in naturally distributed L. muscari in Japan using chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) haplotypes and nuclear DNA (nDNA). Commercially produced individuals were also studied and compared with natural populations to assess any genetic disturbance of the ploidy complex in this species. Chromosome counts, cpDNA, and nDNA results showed three genetically and cytologically distinct groups in Japan: first, a tetraploid group in mainland Japan; second, a hexaploid group in the Ryukyu Islands; and third, a diploid and tetraploid group in the Ryukyu Islands. Significant isolation by distance was also detected within the three groups (p = 0.001). Genetic disturbance due to greening and gardening should be avoided among the three groups. Genetic disturbance can be reduced by using individuals derived from natural populations that are close to the sites used for greening and gardening. For commercially produced individuals, genetic disturbance is unlikely in the Kanto region, an area of high usage, while genetic disturbance is thought possible in the Ryukyu Islands.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3015
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Nov


  • MIG-seq
  • conservation
  • greening
  • human disturbance
  • polyploidy


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