High genetic diversity at the extreme range edge: nucleotide variation at nuclear loci in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in Scotland

W. Wachowiak, M. J. Salmela, R. A. Ennos, G. Iason, S. Cavers

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Abstract

Nucleotide polymorphism at 12 nuclear loci was studied in Scots pine populations across an environmental gradient in Scotland, to evaluate the impacts of demographic history and selection on genetic diversity. At eight loci, diversity patterns were compared between Scottish and continental European populations. At these loci, a similar level of diversity (θ(sil)= ~0.01) was found in Scottish vs mainland European populations, contrary to expectations for recent colonization, however, less rapid decay of linkage disequilibrium was observed in the former (ρ=0.0086±0.0009, ρ=0.0245±0.0022, respectively). Scottish populations also showed a deficit of rare nucleotide variants (multi-locus Tajima's D=0.316 vs D=-0.379) and differed significantly from mainland populations in allelic frequency and/or haplotype structure at several loci. Within Scotland, western populations showed slightly reduced nucleotide diversity (π(tot)=0.0068) compared with those from the south and east (0.0079 and 0.0083, respectively) and about three times higher recombination to diversity ratio (ρ/θ=0.71 vs 0.15 and 0.18, respectively). By comparison with results from coalescent simulations, the observed allelic frequency spectrum in the western populations was compatible with a relatively recent bottleneck (0.00175 × 4N(e) generations) that reduced the population to about 2% of the present size. However, heterogeneity in the allelic frequency distribution among geographical regions in Scotland suggests that subsequent admixture of populations with different demographic histories may also have played a role.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-787
Number of pages13
JournalHeredity
Volume106
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

Keywords

  • adaptation
  • bottleneck
  • nucleotide diversity
  • population differentiation
  • linkage disequilibrium
  • recolonization

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