Nuclear microsatellite markers reveal the low genetic structure of Pinus mugo Turra (dwarf mountain pine) populations in Europe
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Twenty-one populations (555 individuals) covering the entire native range of Pinus mugo Turra (dwarf mountain pine) were investigated for genetic variation scored at 13 nuclear microsatellite markers (nSSRs). The main objective of the present study was to determine the genetic structure across the present distribution of the species and locate populations of different genetic compositions. Most of the genetic variation was observed within the populations (95%). The assignment of populations based on Bayesian clustering methods revealed that the Sudeten populations of P. mugo form a separate genetic cluster. These stands have likely been established through the founder effects of Alpine migrants. The distribution and level of SSR polymorphisms, along with no evidence of isolation by distance or phylogeographic structure, indicate that the present populations of P. mugo have diverged relatively recently and originate from a larger glacial distribution of the species. One peripheral stand from Italy had the lowest values of most calculated genetic variation indices. This stand could therefore be more susceptible to genetic drift and a negative impact of predicted environmental changes. We discuss our findings with respect to previously published results on the genetic and morphological variation of P. mugo and with consideration for the conservation genetics of the species.
KeywordsAdaptation Conservation genetics Genetic diversity Phylogeography Population differentiation Postglacial recolonization
The authors would like to thank K. Boratyńska and A. Boratyński for the collection of the plant material and M. Litkowiec for technical support and valuable comments concerning the data analysis. The work was financially supported through a grant from the Polish National Science Centre (Grant No. DEC-2012/05/E/NZ9/03476).
This study was funded through a grant from the Polish National Science Centre (Grant No. DEC-2012/05/E/NZ9/03476).
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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