Genetic Structure in the Northern Range Margins of Common Ash, Fraxinus excelsior L.Reportar como inadecuado

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During post glacial colonization, loss of genetic diversity due to leading edge effects may be attenuated in forest trees because of their prolonged juvenile phase, allowing many migrants to reach the colonizing front before populations become reproductive. The northern range margins of temperate tree taxa in Europe are particularly suitable to study the genetic processes that follow colonization because they have been little affected by northern refugia. Here we examined how post glacial range dynamics have shaped the genetic structure of common ash Fraxinus excelsior L. in its northern range compared to its central range in Europe. We used four chloroplast and six nuclear microsatellites to screen 42 populations 1099 trees, half of which corresponded to newly sampled populations in the northern range and half of which represented reference populations from the central range obtained from previously studies. We found that northern range populations of common ash have the same chloroplast haplotypes as south-eastern European populations, suggesting that colonization of the northern range took place along a single migration route, a result confirmed by the structure at the nuclear microsatellites. Along this route, diversity strongly decreased only in the northern range, concomitantly with increasing population differentiation and complex population substructures, a pattern consistent with a leading edge colonization model. Our study highlights that while diversity is maintained in the central range of common ash due to broad colonizing fronts and high levels of gene flow, it profoundly decreases in the northern range, where colonization was unidirectional and probably involved repeated founder events and population fluctuations. Currently, common ash is threatened by ash dieback, and our results on northern populations will be valuable for developing gene conservation strategies.

Autor: Mari Mette Tollefsrud , Tor Myking, Jørn Henrik Sønstebø, Vaidotas Lygis, Ari Mikko Hietala, Myriam Heuertz



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