, Volume 76, Issue 6, pp 929-932

Genetics of Brazil nut (Bertholletia excelsa Humb. & Bonpl.: Lecythidaceae)

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Here we report the results of a mating system analysis of an Amazonian population of Bertholletia excelsa, a tropical rain forest canopy tree species. Using progeny data from 29 seed parents, two highly polymorphic isozymes were analyzed to derive single locus and multilocus estimates of outcrossing, based on a mixed mating model. The two single locus estimates were very similar, and both were somewhat smaller than the multilocus estimate, indicating the possibility that the populations are genetically structured. The multilocus outcrossing estimate (tm=0.85±0.03) reveals that outcrossing is prevalent, but that a significantly low level of inbreeding may be occurring. The high outcrossing rate indicates that even though dispersion of individuals is very low within populations of this tropical rain forest tree, pollen dispersal mechanisms appear to be adequate to enable crosses with a relatively large number of potential mates.