Population genetic diversity of the rare hardwood butternut (Juglans cinerea) in the northeastern USA

Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Population structure


Populations of butternut tree (Juglans cinerea) have undergone range-wide extirpation. A fungal pathogen, Ophiognomonia clavigignenti-juglandacearum, of unknown origin has been recognized as the causal factor. This population collapse has allowed for observations of a broadleaf hardwood in rapid decline. This study made use of six neutral microsatellite markers to describe the present genetic diversity of butternut in the northeastern USA. Our results indicated weak population differentiation (F ST = 0.084), further supported by an absence of regional genetic structure. Despite reports of high mortality rates, genetic analysis revealed no sign of a recent bottleneck. Population statistics and Bayesian analysis indicated significant historical gene flow among butternut populations of the northeast. Attention should be given to genetic differences between upland and riparian habitat as riparian populations appear to contain greater allele diversity.


Juglans cinerea Butternut Genetic Riparian Microsatellite 



We would like to thank everyone who responded with information used to locate butternut and those who were gracious enough to assist in sampling, Dale Bergdahl, Kyle Lombard, John Werits, the New York Nut Growers Association, and Cornell Extension services. Alejandra Sanchez and Gloria Broders, thank you for the assistance with technical support and genotyping expertise. Ideas and edits were carefully pored over by Isabel Munck and Adrienne Kovack. We would like to express our gratitude to the anonymous reviewers who provide encouraging and constructive feedback. This research was funded in part by the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration and the University of New Hampshire Agriculture Experiment Station.

Data Archiving Statement

Microsatellite genotypes for the butternut sampled have been archived in TreeGenes under Accession number TGDR056. Habitat, phenotypic, and geographic location data may be requested from the corresponding author (kirk.broders@colostate.edu)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest ManagementColorado State UniversityFt. CollinsUSA

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