, Volume 18, Issue 5-6, pp 585-599
Date: 20 May 2005

Clonal and genetic structure of two Mexican oaks: Quercus eduardii and Quercus potosina (Fagaceae)

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Quercus eduardii and Q. potosina are dominant oak species in Sierra Fría, Aguascalientes, Mexico. These species have been exploited for multiple purposes since the 16th century. Both species produce clonal offspring through root suckering and acorns through sexual reproduction. To understand clonality for the implementation of the most adequate actions for the conservation of these species, we addressed the following questions: (a) what is the spatial clonal structure of both species? (b) How much clonal and genetic diversity is maintained in these species? Random Amplified Polymorphic DNAs (RAPDs) were used as molecular markers for these analyses. Genets of both species have few ramets and these grow close the parent tree. Autocorrelation analyses at the ramet level showed an aggregated distribution at short distances and a random spatial distribution at larger distances. Also, at the genet level the autocorrelation analyses showed a random distribution. Clonal diversity was high in both species (Q. eduardii: D=0.963, G/N=0.60; Q. potosina: D=0.985, G/N=0.65). Genetic diversity was high within populations (Q. eduardii: H e =0.33±0.11; Q. potosina: H e =0.35±0.11). Low levels of genetic differentiation among populations were observed (Q. eduardii ϕ st =0.19, P < 0.002; Q. potosina ϕ st =0.13, P < 0.002). Both species maintain high levels of clonal and genetic diversity, probably due to successful sexual reproduction, which allows gene flow among populations. Conservation and/or reforestation programs must include seed collections and germplasm banks. Due to the small genet size and the high clonal diversity of these species, seeds can be collected in any place in Sierra Fría, Aguascalientes.