, Volume 138, Issue 9-10, pp 1047-1057
Date: 04 Sep 2010

Analysis of genetic diversity in flowering dogwood natural stands using microsatellites: the effects of dogwood anthracnose

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Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida L.) populations recently have experienced severe declines caused by dogwood anthracnose. Mortality has ranged from 48 to 98%, raising the concern that genetic diversity has been reduced significantly. Microsatellite data were used to evaluate the level and distribution of genetic variation throughout much of the native range of the tree. Genetic variation in areas affected by anthracnose was as high as or higher than areas without die-offs. We found evidence of four widespread, spatially contiguous genetic clusters. However, there was little relationship between geographic distance and genetic difference. These observations suggest that high dispersal rates and large effective population sizes have so far prevented rapid loss of genetic diversity. The effects of anthracnose on demography and community structure are likely to be far more consequential than short-term genetic effects.