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Spatial effects and rare outcrossing events in Medicago truncatula (Fabaceae)


Isabelle Bonnin. Fax: 33 (0)3 20 43 69 79;


In order to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the large amount of RAPD polymorphism found in 1990 in a population of the selfing annual Medicago truncatula GAERTN. (Fabaceae), we have analysed most of the individuals (n = 363) from the same population 6 years later using microsatellite loci. We confirm the result of the earlier study, namely that this population is very polymorphic and highly subdivided, with approximately 37% of the variance distributed among subpopulations, only 50 m apart one from another. We use standard F-statistics analyses, linkage disequilibria, minimum spanning network, multilocus assignment tests and spatial autocorrelation analyses to test the hypotheses that spatial structure and outcrossing events are involved in maintaining the large amount of genetic diversity at the level of each subpopulation. Interestingly, fine-scale spatial structure could be observed in only one subpopulation suggesting that other mechanisms are acting elsewhere. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study of fine spatial genetic structure in a predominantly selfing species.