Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 93, Issue 1–2, pp 215–221 | Cite as

Do molecular markers reflect patterns of differentiation in adaptive traits of conifers?

  • A. Karhu
  • P. Hurme
  • M. Karjalainen
  • P. Karvonen
  • K. Kärkkäinen
  • D. Neale
  • O. Savolainen


We have examined patterns of variation of several kinds of molecular markers (isozymes, RFLPs of ribosomal DNA and anonymous low-copy number DNA, RAPDs and microsatellites) and an adaptive trait [date of bud set in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.)]. The study included Finnish Scots pine populations (from latitude 60°N to 70°N) which experience a steep climatic gradient. Common garden experiments show that these populations are adapted to the location of their origin and genetically differentiated in adaptive quantitative traits, e.g. the date of bud set in first-year seedlings. In the northernmost population, bud set took place about 21 days earlier than in the southernmost population. Of the total variation in bud set, 36.4% was found among the populations. All molecular markers showed high levels of within-population variation, while differentiation among populations was low. Among all the studied markers, microsatellites were the most variable (He=0.77). Differences between populations were small, GST was less than 0.02. Our study suggests that molecular markers may be poor predictors of the population differentiation of quantitative traits in Scots pine, as exemplified here by bud-set date.

Key words

Scots pine Molecular markers Isozymes Population structure Adaptive genetic variation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adams WT, Strauss SH, Copes DL, Griffin AR (1992) Population genetics of forest trees. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  2. Aho M-L (1994) Autumn frost hardening of 1-year-old Pinus sylvestris (L.) seedlings: effect of origin and parent trees. Scand J For Res 9:17–24PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Barton NH, Turelli M (1989) Evolutionary quantitative genetics: how little do we know? Annu Rev Genet 23:337–370Google Scholar
  4. Campbell RK (1979) Genecology of Douglas-fir in a watershed in the Oregon cascades. Ecology 60:1036–1950Google Scholar
  5. Cornelius J (1994) Heritabilities and additive coefficients of variation in forest trees. Can J For Res 24:372–379Google Scholar
  6. Devey ME, Jermstad KD, Tauer CG, Neale DB (1991) Inheritance of RFLP loci in a loblolly pine three-generation pedigree. Theor Appl Genet 83:238–242Google Scholar
  7. Doyle JJ, Doyle JL (1990) Isolation of plant DNA from fresh tissue. BRL Focus 12:13–15Google Scholar
  8. Eiche V (1966) Cold damage and plant mortality in experimental plantations with Scots pine in northern Sweden. Stud For Suecica 36:1–218Google Scholar
  9. Eriksson G, Andersen S, Eiche V, Ifver I, Persson A (1980) Severity index and transfer effects on survival and volume production of Pinus sylvestris in northern Sweden. Stud For Suecica 156:1–32Google Scholar
  10. Fowler DP, Morris RW (1977) Genetic diversity in red pine: evidence for low genic heterozygosity. Can J For Res 7:343–347Google Scholar
  11. Groover A, Devey M, Fiddler T, Lee J, Megraw R, Mitchel-Olds T, Sherman B, Vujcic S, Williams C, Neale D (1994) Identification of quantitative trait loci influencing wood specific gravity in an outbred pedigree of loblolly pine. Genetics 138:1293–1300Google Scholar
  12. Gullberg U, Yazdani R, Rudin D, Ryman N (1985) Allozyme variation in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) in Sweden. Silvae Genet 34:193–200Google Scholar
  13. Hamrick JL, Godt MJ, Sherman-Broyles, SL (1992) Factors influencing levels of genetic diversity in woody plant species. New For 6:95–124.Google Scholar
  14. Harju A, Muona O (1989) Background pollination in Pinus sylvestris seed orchards. Scand J For Res 4:513–520Google Scholar
  15. Hartl DL, Clark AG (1989) Principles of population genetics. Sinauer Associates Inc., Sunderland, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  16. Hedrick PW (1985) Genetics of populations. Jones and Bartlett Publisher, Boston, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  17. Houle D (1992) Comparing evolvability and variability of qualitative traits. Genetics 130:195–204Google Scholar
  18. Hutcheson K (1970) A test for comparing diversities based on the Shannon formula. J Theor Biol 29:151–154Google Scholar
  19. Jeffreys AJ, Royle NJ, Wilson V, Wong Z (1988) Spontaneous mutation rates to new length alleles at tandem-repetitive hypervariable loci in human DNA. Nature 332:278–281Google Scholar
  20. Karvonen P, Savolainen O (1993) Variation and inheritance of ribosomal DNA in Pinus sylvestris L. (Scots pine). Heredity 71: 614–622Google Scholar
  21. Karvonen P, Karjalainen M, Savolainen O (1993) Ribosomal RNA genes in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L): chromosomal organization and structure. Genetica 88:59–68Google Scholar
  22. Kimura M (1983) The neutral theory of molecular evolution. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  23. Koski V (1970) A study of pollen dispersal as a mechanism of gene flow. Commun Inst For Fenn 70:1–78Google Scholar
  24. Li P, Adams WT (1994) Genetic variation in cambial phenology of coastal Douglas-fir. Can J For Res 24:1864–1870Google Scholar
  25. Lynch M, Milligan BG (1994) Analysis of population genetic structure with RAPD markers. Mol Ecol 3:91–99Google Scholar
  26. Mikola J (1982) Bud set phenology as an indicator of climatic adaptation of Scots pine in Finland. Silvae Fenn 16:178–184Google Scholar
  27. Milligan BG, Leebens-Mack J, Strand E (1994) Conservation genetics: beyond maintenance of marker diversity. Mol Ecol 3:423–435Google Scholar
  28. Moran GF, Muona O, Bell JC (1989) Acacia mangium: a tropical forest tree of the coastal lowlands with low genetic diversity. Evolution 43:231–235Google Scholar
  29. Mosseler A, Egger KN, Hughes GA (1992) Low levels of genetic diversity in red pine confirmed by random amplified polymorphic DNA markers. Can J For Res 22:1332–1337Google Scholar
  30. Muona O (1990) Population genetics in forest tree improvement. In: Brown AHD, Clegg MT, Kahler AL, Weir BS (eds) Plant population genetics, breeding, and genetic resources. Sinauer Associates Inc., Sunderland, Massachusetts, pp 282–298Google Scholar
  31. Muona O, Harju A (1989) Effective population sizes, genetic variability, and mating systems in natural stands and seeds orchards of Pinus sylvestris. Silvae Genet 38:221–228Google Scholar
  32. Muona O, Harju A, Kärkkäinen K (1988) Genetic comparison of natural and nursery grown seedlings of Pinus sylvestris using allozymes. Scand J For Res 3:37–46Google Scholar
  33. Neale DB, Devey ME, Jermstad MR, Ahuja MC, Alosi MC, Marshall K-A (1992) Use of DNA markers in forest tree improvement research. New For 6:391–407Google Scholar
  34. Nei M (1973) Analysis of gene diversity in subdivided populations. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 70:3321–3323Google Scholar
  35. Rehfeldt GE (1990) Genetic differentiation among populations of Pinus ponderosa from the upper Colorado River Basin. Bot Gaz 151:125–137Google Scholar
  36. Rehfeldt GE (1992) Early selection in Pinus ponderosa: compromises between growth potential and growth rhythm in developing breeding strategies. For Sci 38:661–677Google Scholar
  37. SAS (1987) SAS/STAT guide for personal computers, version 6.1 edition. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, North CarolinaGoogle Scholar
  38. Savolainen O, Hedrick P (1995) Heterozygosity and fitness: no association in Scots pine. Genetics 140:755–766Google Scholar
  39. Smith DN, Devey ME (1995) Occurrence and inheritance of microsatellites in Pinus radiata. Genome 37:977–983Google Scholar
  40. Sokal RR, Rohlf JF (1981) Biometry. W.H. Freeman, San Francisco, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  41. Strauss SH, Hong Y-P, Hipkins VD (1993) High levels of population differentiation for mitochondrial DNA haplotypes in Pinus radiata, muricata, and attenuata. Theor Appl Genet 86:605–611Google Scholar
  42. Wagner DB, Furnier GR, Saghai-Maroof MA, Williams, SM, Dancik BP, Allard RW (1987) Chloroplast DNA polymorphism in lodgepole and jack pines and their hybrids. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 84: 2097–2100PubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. Wu J, Wagner RS, Krutovskii KV, Strauss SH (1996) Strong differentiation of RAPD markers among populations of knobcone pine (Pinus attenuata). For Genet (in press)Google Scholar
  44. Yang R-C, Yeh FC, Yanchuk AD; A comparison of isozyme and quantitative genetic variation in Pinus contorta ssp. latifolia by FST. Genetics 142:1045–1052Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Karhu
    • 1
  • P. Hurme
    • 1
  • M. Karjalainen
    • 1
  • P. Karvonen
    • 1
  • K. Kärkkäinen
    • 1
  • D. Neale
    • 2
  • O. Savolainen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of OuluOuluFinland
  2. 2.USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Institute of Forest GeneticsBerkeleyUSA

Personalised recommendations