Rapid loss of genetic variation in a founding population of Primula elatior (Primulaceae) after colonization

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

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

    Abstract

    Land-use changes and associated extinction/colonization dynamics can have a large impact on population genetic diversity of plant species. The aim of this study was to investigate genetic diversity in a founding population of the self-incompatible forest herb Primula elatior and to elucidate the processes that affect genetic diversity shortly after colonization. AFLP markers were used to analyse genetic diversity across three age classes and spatial genetic structure within a founding population of P. elatior in a recently established stand in central Belgium. Parentage analyses were used to assess the amount of gene flow from outside the population and to investigate the contribution of mother plants to future generations. The genetic diversity of second and third generation plants was significantly reduced compared with that of first generation plants. Significant spatial genetic structure was observed. Parentage analyses showed that <20 % of the youngest individuals originated from parents outside the study population and that > 50 % of first and second generation plants did not contribute to seedling recruitment. These results suggest that a small effective population size and genetic drift can lead to rapid decline of genetic diversity of offspring in founding populations shortly after colonization. This multigenerational study also highlights that considerable amounts of gene flow seem to be required to counterbalance genetic drift and to sustain high levels of genetic diversity after colonization in recently established stands.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAnnals of Botany
    Volume103
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to)777-783
    Number of pages7
    ISSN0305-7364
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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