Title Population Genetic Diversity of the Clonal Plant Geum reptans (Rosaceae) in the Swiss Alps
Author/s Andrea R. Pluess, Jürg Stöcklin
Year 2004
Journal American Journal of Botany 91(12): 2013-2021
Abstract In the alpine landscape most plant populations are spatially isolated due to extreme patchiness and strong natural fragmentation. We used RAPD-PCR (randomly amplified polymorphic DNA polymerase chain reaction) for a study of the genetic diversity within and among 20 populations of Geum reptans, an outcrossing clonal plant species in the Swiss Alps. Populations were sampled at different altitudes, in early-, medium- and late-successional habitats (population origin) using a spatially hierarchical design, with distances among populations ranging from 0.2 to 208 km. Seed and pollen dispersibility was estimated by direct measurements. Seed dispersibility by wind was low with only 0.015% of the seeds flying over 100 m. Observed pollen flow was even more restricted. Molecular diversity within populations was irrespective of population origin (He 0.22±0.004) and similar to the average of other RAPD studies. Contrary to our expectation, populations were only moderately differentiated (Gst=0.14). However, there was a clear spatial genetic structure and a positive relationship between pairwise genetic and geographic distances. Our results indicate considerable gene flow among populations within the same regional area, and we found no indication for genetic depletion during succession or in peripheral habitats. We conclude that, despite the high natural fragmentation and the importance of vegetative reproduction in this alpine plant, gene flow and repeated seedling recruitment during succession might be more frequent than commonly suggested.
Keywords altitude · Geum reptans · molecular diversity · pioneer plant species · RAPD · Rosaceae · successional habitats
Research project Sexual and Clonal Reproduction in Alpine Plant Life
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