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Delineation of genetic zones in the European Norway spruce natural range: preliminary evidence

Authors

  • Gabriele Bucci,

    1. Istituto Miglioramento Genetico Piante Forestali (IMGPF), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), v. Atto Vannucci, 13, I-50134 Firenze, Italy
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  • Giovanni Giuseppe Vendramin

    Corresponding author
    1. Istituto Miglioramento Genetico Piante Forestali (IMGPF), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), v. Atto Vannucci, 13, I-50134 Firenze, Italy
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Giovanni Giuseppe Vendramin. Fax: + 39 055 486 604; E-mail:vendramin@imgpf.fi.cnr.it

Abstract

We applied geostatistics to previously reported chloroplast simple sequence repeats (cpSSR) haplotype frequency data from 95 European Norway spruce populations to provide preliminary evidence about the following issues: (i) delineation of genetically homogeneous regions (‘genetic zones’); (ii) prediction of their haplotype frequencies and definition of related criteria to be applied for provenance identification and certification of seedlots; (iii) identification of putative allochthonous stands; and (iv) construction of a continental-scale ‘availability map’ of the intraspecific biodiversity for Norway spruce. Direct evidence of large-scale geographical structure over the European natural range was obtained, detecting both geographical clines and stationary patterns. The increase of the mean genetic divergence by geographical distance (up to approximately 1800 km apart) provided a strong hint that geographical distance is a major factor of differentiation in Norway spruce. Haplotype frequency surfaces were obtained by applying ordinary kriging to sampling frequency data. Cluster analysis carried out on haplotype frequency surfaces revealed a fair discrimination among 16 genetic zones, with an accuracy of 0.916. Dendrogram analysis carried out on the predicted mean haplotype frequency confirmed a fairly good separability of the genetic zones detected. Reclassification of populations by discriminant analysis confirmed the robustness of the genetic subdivision obtained. Combining the information from discriminant analysis and cross-validation of sampling points, three populations likely to be of nonlocal origin were identified. The application of geostatistical analysis to genetic marker data is discussed in relation to breeding activities and to the formulation of appropriate conservation strategies.

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