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Estimation of gene flow in the tropical-rainforest tree Neobalanocarpus heimii (Dipterocarpaceae), inferred from paternity analysis


Akihiro Konuma. Fax: + 81(298)50 2483;


Pollen flow and population genetic structure among 30 potentially flowering individuals of Neobalanocarpus heimii, a tropical emergent tree, were investigated in a lowland tropical rainforest of Malaysia using microsatellite polymorphism. The 248 offspring in the vicinity of five reproductive trees of the 30 potentially flowering trees were used in paternity analysis for pollen-flow study. Four primer pairs, developed in different species of dipterocarps, were adopted to detect microsatellite polymorphism. Based upon microsatellite polymorphism, pollen flow and seed migration were detected. Pollen-flow events of more than 400 m were observed directly, based on paternity analysis in the study plot. The estimated average mating distance of the five reproductive trees was 524 m. This result suggests that reproduction of this species is mediated by a long-distance pollinator. The haplotypes of some offspring were not compatible with the nearest reproductive tree. Thus, the results suggest that some seeds are dispersed by a seed dispersal vector. Investigation of genetic structure showed significant and negative correlation of genetic relatedness and spatial distances between the 30 potentially flowering trees, but this correlation was weak. We suggest that long-distance gene flow and seed migration are responsible for the poorly developed genetic structure of this species.