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      Hybridization increases invasive knotweed success

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          Abstract

          Hybridization is one of the fundamental mechanisms by which rapid evolution can occur in exotic species. If hybrids show increased vigour, this could significantly contribute to invasion success. Here, we compared the success of the two invasive knotweeds, Fallopia japonica and F. sachalinensis, and their hybrid, F. × bohemica, in competing against experimental communities of native plants. Using plant material from multiple clones of each taxon collected across a latitudinal gradient in Central Europe, we found that knotweed hybrids performed significantly better in competition with a native community and that they more strongly reduced the growth of the native plants. One of the parental species, F. sachalinensis, regenerated significantly less well from rhizomes, and this difference disappeared if activated carbon was added to the substrate, which suggests allelopathic inhibition of F. sachalinensis regeneration by native plants. We found substantial within-taxon variation in competitive success in all knotweed taxa, but variation was generally greatest in the hybrid. Interestingly, there was also significant variation within the genetically uniform F. japonica, possibly reflecting epigenetic differences. Our study shows that invasive knotweed hybrids are indeed more competitive than their parents and that hybridization increased the invasiveness of the exotic knotweed complex.

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          Evolutionary genetics of invasive species

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            Phenotypic and genetic differentiation between native and introduced plant populations.

            Plant invasions often involve rapid evolutionary change. Founder effects, hybridization, and adaptation to novel environments cause genetic differentiation between native and introduced populations and may contribute to the success of invaders. An influential idea in this context has been the Evolution of Increased Competitive Ability (EICA) hypothesis. It proposes that after enemy release plants rapidly evolve to be less defended but more competitive, thereby increasing plant vigour in introduced populations. To detect evolutionary change in invaders, comparative studies of native versus introduced populations are needed. Here, we review the current empirical evidence from: (1) comparisons of phenotypic variation in natural populations; (2) comparisons of molecular variation with neutral genetic markers; (3) comparisons of quantitative genetic variation in a common environment; and (4) comparisons of phenotypic plasticity across different environments. Field data suggest that increased vigour and reduced herbivory are common in introduced plant populations. In molecular studies, the genetic diversity of introduced populations was not consistently different from that of native populations. Multiple introductions of invasive plants appear to be the rule rather than the exception. In tests of the EICA hypothesis in a common environment, several found increased growth or decreased resistance in introduced populations. However, few provided a full test of the EICA hypothesis by addressing growth and defence in the same species. Overall, there is reasonable empirical evidence to suggest that genetic differentiation through rapid evolutionary change is important in plant invasions. We discuss conceptual and methodological issues associated with cross-continental comparisons and make recommendations for future research. When testing for EICA, greater emphasis should be put on competitive ability and plant tolerance. Moreover, it is important to address evolutionary change in characteristics other than defence and growth that could play a role in plant invasions.
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              Adaptive evolution in invasive species.

              Many emerging invasive species display evidence of rapid adaptation. Contemporary genetic studies demonstrate that adaptation to novel environments can occur within 20 generations or less, indicating that evolutionary processes can influence invasiveness. However, the source of genetic or epigenetic variation underlying these changes remains uncharacterised. Here, we review the potential for rapid adaptation from standing genetic variation and from new mutations, and examine four types of evolutionary change that might promote or constrain rapid adaptation during the invasion process. Understanding the source of variation that contributes to adaptive evolution in invasive plants is important for predicting future invasion scenarios, identifying candidate genes involved in invasiveness, and, more generally, for understanding how populations can evolve rapidly in response to novel and changing environments.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Evol Appl
                Evol Appl
                eva
                Evolutionary Applications
                John Wiley & Sons Ltd
                1752-4571
                1752-4571
                March 2014
                02 January 2014
                : 7
                : 3
                : 413-420
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern Bern, Switzerland
                [2 ]Institute of Evolution and Ecology, University of Tübingen Tübingen, Germany
                [3 ]CABI Europe Switzerland Delémont, Switzerland
                Author notes
                Correspondence Madalin Parepa, Institute of Evolution and Ecology, University of Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 1, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany., Tel.: +49 (0)7071 29-74248;, Fax: +49 (0)7071 29-5344;, e-mail: madalin.parepa@ 123456uni-tuebingen.de
                Article
                10.1111/eva.12139
                3962301
                © 2013 The Authors. Evolutionary Applications published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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