Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution
Henk SchatEric Kuiper


Heavy metal tolerant Silene vulgaris plants, originating from different metalliferous sites in Germany and one in Ireland, were crossed to each other and to nontolerant plants from a nonmetalliferous site in The Netherlands. Analysis of the crosses suggested that there were two distinct major gene loci for zinc tolerance among a total of five tolerant populations. The tolerance loci for zinc, copper, and cadmium in the Irish plants were shown to be identical with those in the German populations. It is argued that the occurrence of common major genes for tolerance among different geographically isolated populations must have resulted from independent parallel evolution in local nontolerant ancestral populations. Each of the tolerances studied seems to be controlled by only a few specific major genes.


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