Geographical diversity and genetic relationships among Cedrus species estimated by AFLP
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- Dagher-Kharrat, M.B., Mariette, S., Lefèvre, F. et al. Tree Genetics & Genomes (2007) 3: 275. doi:10.1007/s11295-006-0065-x
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Genetic diversity was described in 17 cedar populations covering the geographical range of the four species of the genus Cedrus. The study was conducted using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) on haploid tissues (megagametophytes). Eleven selective AFLP primer pairs generated a total of 107 polymorphic amplification products. Correspondence and genetic distance analyses indicated that Cedrus deodara constitutes a separate gene pool from the Mediterranean cedars. Within Mediterranean cedars, we distinguished two groups: the first one is made of Cedrus atlantica, while the second one is made of Cedrus libani and Cedrus brevifolia, these latter two species being genetically similar despite important divergence previously observed for morphological and physiological traits. The lowest intrapopulation variability was found in the two C. deodara populations analyzed. Surprisingly, C. brevifolia, the endemic taxon from the island of Cyprus that is found in small and fragmented populations, showed one of the highest levels of diversity. This unexpected pattern of diversity and differentiation observed for C. brevifolia suggests a recent divergence rather than a relictual, declining population. Patterns of diversity within- and among-populations were used to test divergence and fragmentation hypotheses and to draw conclusions for the conservation of Cedrus gene pools.