Current issue: 54(1)
Under compilation: 54(2)
Prunus serotina Ehrh. (black cherry) is one of the most important invaders in the European forests, but existing studies have given limited insight into demo-genetic factors underpinning the process of species invasion. Fine-scale genetic structure (FSGS) may deliver important knowledge on genetics of invasion contributing to efficient management of the alien species. Using eight microsatellites we investigated FSGS, clonal structure and relatedness in four black cherry populations which represented different stages of the invasive spread into Scots pine forests. Three populations were in a continuous forest complex and represented the colonization (Z_1) and established stages (Z_2 and Z_3). To investigate how colonization ability of the species is modified by landscape features, we analyzed an isolated population at colonization stage located in limited forest patch located in an agricultural landscape (R). Populations from continuous forest showed low yet significant positive FSGS with Sp = 0.0068 in Z_1, 0.0054 in Z_2, and 0.0066 in Z_3, while in R spatial structure was the strongest (0.0145). Considerable relatedness noted in population R suggests a dominance of within-population mating and recruitments, low immigration rate and limited seed dispersal, all of which led to the observed strong FSGS. Also, we presume that a founder effect likely involved during colonization of isolated forest patch R led to strong FSGS. In contrary, the seed shadow overlap in the populations from continuous forest prevented strong FSGS and facilitated colonization. Despite of low level of clonality, we argue that it may efficiently support black cherry seedling bank contributing to species invasiveness.
The objective of our study was to assess the genetic and morphological differentiation of European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus L.) in Lithuania based on DNA markers, skull and anther morphology. DNA was extracted from 79 culled individuals at 13 locations and genotyped at five nuclear microsatellite loci. Based on culling location, individuals were assigned to either a field (N = 43) or a forest ecotype (N = 36). Skull and antler morphometry was studied on 603 and 292 individuals, respectively. Results showed no significant genetic and skull morphology differentiation between the ecotypes. The forest ecotype tends to exhibit lower genetic diversity compared to the field ecotype, particularly for male individuals. The genetic differentiation of roe deer in Lithuania was significant based on the RST values, but not on the FST values. A STRUCTURE analyses revealed southern and northern genetic clusters, most likely affected by divergent gene flow. The country’s major rivers Nemunas and Neris are likely to increase differentiation between the clusters. ANOVA on skull morphology by gender and age indicated a significant effect of geographical location. Skull size (especially length) is greater in the northern part of the country. We also found significant effects of age, ecotype and geographical location on most of the roe deer male antler morphometric traits.
Vaccinium myrtillus L., Vaccinium uliginosum L. and Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. are perennial, cold-adapted clonal shrubs distributed throughout Europe, northern Asia and North America. Due to their usage in food (berries) and pharmaceutical industry (berries and leaves), their natural populations are exposed to anthropogenic and other impacts that affect their genetic make-up. We analyzed 14 fragmentary distributed and small-sized peripheral populations of these species from the Balkans, which represents the southeastern-European marginal area of their wide European distributions, using RAPD molecular markers. The contemporary genetic patterns in all three species within the Balkans were generally similar, and in comparison to previous reports on populations of these species found in northward Europe, where they have a more continuous distribution, the levels of genetic diversity were more or less halved, genetic differentiation was several times higher, gene flow exceptionally low, and the expected prevalence of clonal individuals was lacking. The population dynamics of all three species within the Balkans was complex and distinct, and was characterized by a past admixture of individuals from discrete populations of the same species and interspecific hybridisation not only between V. myrtillus and V. vitis-idaea but also between V. uliginosum and V. vitis-idaea, the latter not being reported to date. Conservation measures suitable for preservation of presumably genetically distinct portions of the Balkans’ gene pools of studied species have been suggested, while the utility of interspecific hybrids in breeding programs and/ or in food/pharmaceutical industry is yet to be assessed.
Trees from the family Rosaceae play an important role in forest and agricultural ecosystems. Therefore, they are often an object of interest for both forest and horticultural tree breeders. Here, we present the utilization of an effective microsatellite (SSRs) genotyping method for wild cherry (Prunus avium L.) and verified the discriminatory power of the presented multiplex by genotyping 48 genetically distinctive individuals (plus-trees). Concerned loci were previously proven to be cross-compatible among various cultivars of cherry, hence, the method could have a broader utilization beyond to the field of forestry.
Our technique is based on post-PCR processing of 15 polymorphic SSRs loci amplified in three multiplex reactions with fluorescently labeled primers (6-FAM, VIC, PET and NED). All PCR products could be pooled and analyzed simultaneously (pseudo 15-plex). In order to make this approach feasible, we redefined sequences of several primers. Thus, utilizing modified primers provides non-overlapping amplicons of each fluorescent dye.