Genetic differentiation in Eurasian populations of the postfire ascomycete Daldinia loculata


Hanna Johannesson. Fax: + 46 18 309245;


The genetic population structure of the postfire ascomycete Daldinia loculata was studied to test for differentiation on a continental scale. Ninety-six samples of spore families, each comprising mycelia from six to 10 spores originating from single perithecia, were sampled from one Russian and six Fennoscandian forest sites. Allelic distribution was assayed for six nuclear gene loci by restriction enzyme analyses of polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified gene fragments. In addition, the full sequence of the gene fragment was analysed for a subset of haploid single-ascospore isolates in a multiallelic approach. A third data set was generated by using arbitrary-primed PCR with the core sequence of the phage M13 as primer. Although there was a reduction in heterozygosity in the total population from what would have been expected at random mating, the levels of genetic differentiation among the Eurasian subpopulations of D. loculata were low. All subpopulations were found to be in Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium and gametic equilibrium was observed between all investigated nuclear gene loci. The results obtained by the different markers were consistent; we confirmed low levels of genetic differentiation among the Eurasian subpopulations of D. loculata. The differentiation did not increase with distance; the Russian subpopulation, sampled more than 7000 km from the Fennoscandian subpopulations, was only moderately differentiated from the others (FST = 0.00–0.14). In contrast, one of the Swedish populations was the most highly differentiated from the others, with FST and GST values of 0.10–0.16. The results suggest that D. loculata consists of a long-lived backround Eurasian population of latent mycelia in nonburned forests, established by sexual ascospores dispersed from scattered burned forest sites. Local differentiation is probably due to founder effects of populations in areas with low fire frequency. A tentative life cycle of D. loculata is presented.