Spatial genetic structure and diversity of natural populations of Aesculus hippocastanum L. in Greece

Autoři: Łukasz Walas aff001;  Petros Ganatsas aff002;  Grzegorz Iszkuło aff001;  Peter A. Thomas aff004;  Monika Dering aff001
Působiště autorů: Institute of Dendrology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Parkowa, Kórnik, Poland aff001;  Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Forestry and Natural Environment, Laboratory of Silviculture, Thessaloniki, Greece aff002;  Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Zielona Góra, Prof. Z. Szafrana, Zielona Góra, Poland aff003;  School of Biological Sciences, Keele University, Staffordshire, United Kingdom aff004;  Harvard Forest, Harvard University, Petersham, MA, United States of America aff005;  Faculty of Forestry, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego, Poznań, Poland aff006
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(12)
Kategorie: Research Article


Horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum L.) is an endemic and relict species from the Mediterranean biodiversity hotspot and a popular ornamental tree. Knowledge about the evolutionary history of this species remains scarce. Here, we ask what historical and ecological factors shaped the pattern of genetic diversity and differentiation of this species. We genotyped 717 individuals from nine natural populations using microsatellite markers. The influence of distance, topography and habitat variables on spatial genetic structure was tested within the approaches of isolation-by-distance and isolation-by-ecology. Species niche modeling was used to project the species theoretical range through time and space. The species showed high genetic diversity and moderate differentiation for which topography, progressive range contraction through the species’ history and long-term persistence in stable climatic refugia are likely responsible. A strong geographic component was revealed among five genetic clusters that are connected with very limited gene flow. The environmental variables were a significant factor in the spatial genetic structure. Modeling results indicated that future reduction of the species range may affect its survival. The possible impact of climate changes and high need of in situ conservation are discussed.

Klíčová slova:

Climate change – Gene flow – Inbreeding – Paleoclimatology – Paleogenetics – Population genetics – Seedlings – Species diversity


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