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High genetic similarity between Polish and North European Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) populations at nuclear gene loci


Nucleotide polymorphisms in a set of 32 nuclear genes were studied in 19 mountain, peatbog and lowland populations of Scots pine representing known phenotypic races and populations of presumably relict character for the species in Poland. At 29 genes, the pattern of genetic variation was compared to 11 reference populations from Northern, Western and Southern Europe. Similar levels of nucleotide polymorphism and excess of low-frequency mutations were observed in Polish populations (π tot = 0.0055, D = −0.308) and as compared to the reference samples (π tot = 0.0054, D = −0.170). Bayesian assignment and conventional frequency-based statistics indicate that Polish populations share the same genetic background at the analysed nuclear gene markers. However, the populations showed a much closer genetic relationship with North European samples than other regional groups of populations. Across the very uniform genetic background of the populations, we identified several genes with outlier patterns of haplotype, polymorphism frequency variation and departures from compound neutrality tests. Our data indicate that the Central and North European parts of the Scots pine distribution seem particularly suitable for association genetic studies to link phenotypic and genetic variation at a large geographical scale.

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The research was financially supported by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education (grant nr. 2975/B/P01/2010/39). BW acknowledges the financial support from the Polish National Science Centre (grant nr. DEC-2012/05/E/NZ9/03476). We thank Euforgen network for providing the distribution map of Scots pine.

Data Archiving Statement

The nucleotide sequences of the studied loci were submitted to NCBI repositories (Acc. Nr. KJ502673-KJ503230).

Author information

Correspondence to Witold Wachowiak.

Additional information

Communicated by Y. Tsumura

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Wachowiak, W., Wόjkiewicz, B., Cavers, S. et al. High genetic similarity between Polish and North European Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) populations at nuclear gene loci. Tree Genetics & Genomes 10, 1015–1025 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11295-014-0739-8

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  • Nucleotide polymorphisms
  • Population structure
  • Natural selection
  • Recolonization