Abstract The co-occurrence of hybrids and parental species in similar ecological niches poses a question on the role of traits additivity and overdispersion (emergence of new traits) in microevolutionary processes. We analysed genetic polymorphism of Bromus benekenii, B. ramosus and the spontaneous hybrid B. benekenii × B. ramosus in sympatric and allopatric parts of the species distribution in Europe, based on non-coding regions of the taxon genomes (ISSR genetic fingerprinting). We tested 68 individuals in 7 populations, including a hybrid population in N France. Altogether 233 polymorphic ISSR bands (loci) were obtained. We found that the parent species were genetically distinct and the hybrids had an additive pattern of ISSR bands found in the putative parental species (NMDS, STRUCTURE); however, there was evidence of introgression towards B. ramosus (NEWHYBRIDS, UPGMA classifications, Nei's D genetic distance). Bromus benekenii had 72, B. ramosus 21 and the hybrids 9 private bands (genetic overdispersion), probably resulting from the rearranged genomes. Based on its low genetic divergence index DW, the hybrid population seems to be at a young age. We argue that in the face of anthropogenic landscape transformations favouring secondary contacts, the hybrids may competitively replace the parental species in sympatric areas.
We studied the thermophilous grass Bromus erectus in Central Europe to determine its pattern of population genetic structure and genetic diversity, using ISSR-PCR fingerprinting to analyze 200 individuals from 37 populations. We found three genetic groups with a clear geographic structure, based on a Bayesian approach. The first group occurred west and south of the Alps, the second east and north of the Alps, and the third was formed by four genetically depauperated populations in Germany. The populations from Germany formed a subset of the Bohemian-Moravian populations, with one private allele. Two differentiation centers, one in the Atlantic- Mediterranean and the second in the Pannonian-Balkan area, were recognized by species distribution modeling. The geographic distribution of the genetic groups coincides with the syntaxonomic split of the Festuco-Brometea class into the Festucetalia valesiaceae and Brometalia erecti orders. We found a statistically significant decrease in mean ISSR bands per individual from south to north, and to a lesser extent from the east to west. The former was explained by Holocene long-distance migrations from southern refugia, the latter by the difference in the gradient of anthropopression. We hypothesize a cryptic northern shelter of the species in Central Europe in the putative Moravian-Bohemian refugium.