Extremely low genotypic diversity and sexual reproduction in isolated populations of the self-incompatible lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) and the role of the local forest environment

Katrien Vandepitte, Isabel Roldan-Ruiz, Hans Jacquemyn, Olivier Honnay

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Background and Aims Clonal growth is a common phenomenon in plants and allows them to persist when sexual life-cycle completion is impeded. Very low levels of recruitment from seed will ultimately result in low levels of genotypic diversity. The situation can be expected to be exacerbated in spatially isolated populations of obligated allogamous species, as low genotypic diversities will result in low availability of compatible genotypes and low reproductive success. Populations of the self-incompatible forest herb lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) were studied with the aim of inferring the relative importance of sexual and asexual recruitment. Then the aim was to establish a relationship between genotypic diversity, sexual reproduction and the local forest environment. Methods Highly polymorphic microsatellite markers were used to investigate clonal diversities and population genetic structure of 20 populations of C. majalis in central Belgium. Key Results Most of the populations studied consisted of a single genotype and linkage disequilibrium within populations was high, manifesting clonal growth as the main mode of reproduction. A population consisting of multiple genotypes mainly occurred in locations with a thin litter layer and high soil phosphorus levels, suggesting environment-mediated sporadic recruitment from seed. Highly significant genetic differentiation indicated that populations are reproductively isolated. In agreement with the self-incompatibility of C. majalis, monoclonal populations showed very low or even absent fruit set. Conclusions Lack of sexual recruitment in spatially isolated C. majalis populations has resulted in almost monoclonal populations with reduced or absent sexual reproduction, potentially constraining their long-term persistence. The local forest environment may play an important role in mediating sexual recruitment in clonal forest plant species.
    Translated title of the contributionExtremely low genotypic diversity and sexual reproduction in isolated populations of the self-incompatible lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) and the role of the local forest environment
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAnnals of Botany
    Volume105
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)769-776
    Number of pages8
    ISSN0305-7364
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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