Different patterns of genetic structure of relict and isolated populations of endangered peat-bog pine (Pinus uliginosa Neumann)
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Recent changes in environmental conditions in populations of peat-bog pine (Pinus uliginosa Neumann) caused rapid decline or even extinction of the species in several stands in Central Europe. Conservation strategies for P. uliginosa require information about the evolutionary history and genetic structure of its populations. Using isozymes we assessed the genetic structure of P. uliginosa from four isolated stands in Poland and compared the results to genetic structures of other closely related pine species including eight populations of Pinus mugo, ten of Pinus sylvestris and one of Pinus uncinata. The level of genetic variability of P. uliginosa measured by the mean number of alleles per locus and average heterozygosity was similar to others related to P. uliginosa taxa from the reference group but it differs among populations. High genetic similarity was found between two populations of P. uliginosa from Low Silesian Pinewood. The populations were genetically distinct as compared to other populations including locus classicus of the species from the peat bog at Batorow Reserve. Very low genetic distance (DN = 0.002) and small genetic differentiation (GST = 0.003) were found between P. uliginosa and P. mugo in the sympatric populations of the species from Zieleniec peat bog suggesting the ongoing natural hybridisation and genetic contamination of peat-bog pine from this area. Some evidence for skew in allele frequency distribution potentially due to recent bottleneck was found in population from Low Silesian Pinewood. The analysed open pollinated progeny derived from two P. uliginosa stands from Low Silesian Pinewood showed the excess of homozygotes as compared to the maternal trees indicating high level of inbreeding (F = 0.105, F = 0.081). The results are discussed in the context of evolution of P. uliginosa populations, taxonomic relationships between the analysed species and conservation strategies for active protection of peat-bog pine.
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W. Prus-Glowacki, Department of Genetics, Institute of Experimental Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Umultowska 89, Poznan, Poland