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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)January 17, 2017

MAHWAH, N.J. – Ramapo College of New Jersey Professor Eric Karlin is one of two researchers who have discovered that most of the genetic diversity for ancestrally indicative markers in the widespread peat moss Sphagnum ×falcatulum occurs within each individual plant.

Karlin is a professor of Plant Ecology in the School of Theoretical and Applied Science at Ramapo College. The study was published online on January 14, 2017 by the journal Annals of Botany.

Although most moss plants have just one nuclear genome, plants of Sphagnum ×falcatulum are unusual in having nuclear genomes from three different species.

In spite of being a relatively young species, Sphagnum ×falcatulum is the most widespread Sphagnum species in temperate regions of the southern Hemisphere, occurring in both Australasia and in Tierra del Fuego (at the southern tip of South America).

However, “the genetic difference (divergence) among regions and among populations within regions collectively represent just 10 percent of the total information present in this species at ancestrally indicative markers used  for this project, with another 7 percent of the total information occurring among individuals within populations” said Karlin. “Thus, 83 percent of the total genetic information for the entire species occurs within each individual plant.”

Karlin and his colleague Peter Smouse, a professor at Rutgers University, determined the genetic diversity for the three ancestral genomes combined (the hologenome) as well as for each genome separately. The latter approach has rarely been possible to accomplish in prior studies. They found that the total genetic diversity varied greatly among the three ancestral genomes. This indicates that Sphagnum ×falcatulum, which is an allopolyploid, had multiple origins involving ancestors that differed in their respective genetic diversity for the markers which were used.

The study is available at:

Karlin, E. F. & P. E. Smouse. 2017. Allo-allo-triploid Sphagnum ×falcatulum: single individuals contain most of the Holantarctic diversity for ancestrally indicative markers.

Annals of Botany.

For more information, please contact Professor Karlin at 201-684-7743 or via email at For more information about Annals of Botany, please visit


Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education.


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