I have a question I've been pondering for a while regarding the genetic diversity among Nepenthes species. *I thinks its safe to say that in general many species of Nepenthes are fairly variable in picture characteristics and other traits.
My interest rises in the fact that since most Nepenthes are inter-breedable (not sure if thats a word [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img] ) is there a possibility that some of the variation in a species of Nepenthes comes from mixed genes from other species. *Take as an example N. alata. *Is it possible that many dozens or even hundreds of generations ago certain populations of N. alata mixed with another species, thus leaving some genetic remnants in those population today? *Im not claiming that any of the current species of Nepenthes are actually hybrids, Im just wondering if certain variable populations may have arisen not through independent evolution but through introduction of traits from other species. *An example would be something like a form of some Nepenthes, say N. alata, that might be variable because it contains like 0.03% DNA from some ancestral hybridization.
It would be interesting to do an analysis of the Nepenthes species taking a look at which species are more notoriously variable than others and see if the most variable species exist in areas closely inhabited by other species where such ancient hybridizations could have been possible. *On the same note, it would be interesting to look at very geographically isolated species to see if they are less variable.
Just a thought. *Id love to hear people's opinions on this matter.