, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 541-552
Date: 20 Jan 2011

Spatial genetic structure in wild cherry (Prunus avium L.): II. Effect of density and clonal propagation on spatial genetic structure based on simulation studies

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We conducted simulations to disentangle the effect of density and clonal propagation on spatial genetic structure and genetic diversity parameters in Prunus avium. In a previous paper, we observed stronger family structure in populations exhibiting high density and high clonal propagation, whereas one low-density and low clonal propagation population showed negative spatial autocorrelation. We tried to understand these results by simulating 200 years of growth, mating and dispersal with the model Eco-Gene, using two levels of density and three levels of clonal propagation in one high-density population (Spargründe) and one low-density population (Chorin). We used allele frequencies from eight microsatellite loci to generate the populations used for simulations. In order to detect effects of the initial structure on the results, we also ran the simulations starting from the real data. We observed positive effect of clonal propagation on the strength of SGS, while high densities exhibited a negative impact. Genetic diversity was maintained at high densities, while pollen dispersal was shorter. Heterozygosity increased at higher clonal propagation rates, although genetic diversity (accumulated number of genotypes) was lower. We discuss the results according to mating processes and potential management scenario.

Communicated by A. Kremer