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Methods of geometric morphometrics were used to analyze differentiation of three larch species – Larix gmelinii, L. cajanderi, and L. sibirica, which are the most common larch species in North Asia, by the shape of the cone scales. The samples of seed-bearing scales of mature cones were collected from 185 trees in 8 populations, which represented the different regions of the Larix species areas. Ten outline points on one side of the cone scales were chosen to characterize their shape. Patterns of shape variation were depicted using Generalized Procrustes Analysis (GPA). PCA results of partial warps (PW) revealed the shape differences of cone scales among the three species of Larix. The CVA of relative warps (PCA scores) showed that the Larix species were all successfully discriminated, and populations within the species were considerably differentiated. Geometric morphometrics can be used as an effective tool to analyze inter- and intra-specific differentiation of Larix species based on the shape of cone scales.
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