, Volume 123, Issue 3, pp 355-362

Fine-scale genetic structure within plots of Polygala reinii (Polygalaceae) having an ant-dispersal seed

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Abstract

Fine-scale genetic structure within a population was analyzed for the myrmecochorous forest perennial Polygala reinii (Polygalaceae) using allozyme loci. In the analysis, two sampling plots were established to cover the isolated patchy distribution within the study population. Size and spatial structure were also examined for the plots to assess their interaction with the genetic structuring. Allozyme analysis based on 13 putative loci encoding 10 enzyme systems showed high genetic variation and low values of fixation indices at the two plots. Spatial autocorrelation analysis based on the multilocus coancestry coefficient (f ij ) revealed significant genetic structuring in both plots, suggesting limited gene-, especially seed-, dispersal within the population. The spatial structure within the plots, assessed by O-ring statistics, was characterized by the occurrence of spatial clustering of individuals within a few meters. In particular, the range of the spatial clustering roughly corresponded to that of the genetic structuring. While the size structure did not significantly differ between the plots, these results indicate that the fine-scale genetic structure reflects the formation of spatial clustering of related individuals within the population, partly due to the restricted ant-mediated seed dispersal in P. reinii.