Morphological, and genetic characterization of Abutilon theophrasti accessions across a geographic gradient

Abutilon theophrasti causes -severe yield losses in maize and soybean (70 % – 72%). A. theophrasti management is crucial for optimum crop production. Prevention is a pre-requisite to reduce weed pressure and investigation into weed bioecology is needed. This study characterized the morphological and genetic variation of eleven A. theophrasti accessions representative of a climatic gradient distribution range from north (47° N) to southeast Europe(39 ° N) and north America (43ºN). To evaluate interpopulation variability, seed were characterized with morphological parameters (length; width; thickness; weight and volume of 100 seeds) and biomolecular markers: trnL-trnF; trnH-trnK; trnT-psbC and matK. Multivariate and univariate analyses were performed to estimate genetic diversity within and among populations. Populations from north and southern Europe were separated in two groups according to seed morphology. However it was not possible to associate seed morphological traits to genetic variability. All gene sequences (cpDNA genome) presented the same nucleotide sequence