Geographic and molecular variation in a natural plant transgene.
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A PCR based survey of Festuca ovina plants from populations around the southern part of the Baltic Sea demonstrates both geographic and molecular variation in the enzyme gene PgiC2, horizontally transferred from a Poa-species. Our results show that PgiC2-a natural functional nuclear transgene-is not a local ephemeral phenomenon but is present in a very large number of individuals. We find also that its frequency is geographically variable and that it appears in more than one molecular form. The chloroplast variation in the region does not indicate any distinct subdivision due to different colonization routes after the last glaciation. Our data illustrate the geographic and molecular variation that may occur in natural populations with a polymorphic, unfixed transgene affected by diverse kinds of mutational and evolutionary processes.