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Genetic variation in piñon pine, Pinus edulis, associated with summer precipitation

Authors

  • Jeffry B. Mitton,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Campus Box 334, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
      J. B. Mitton. Tel.: 1 303 492 8956; Fax: 1 303 492 8699; E-mail: mitton@colorado.edu
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  • Kristy L. Duran

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Campus Box 334, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
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J. B. Mitton. Tel.: 1 303 492 8956; Fax: 1 303 492 8699; E-mail: mitton@colorado.edu

Abstract

Three previous reports of microgeographical variation of glycerate dehydrogenase (Gly) frequencies in piñon, Pinus edulis, established the hypothesis that Gly frequencies contribute to adaptation to heterogeneous environments, specifically to variation in soil moisture. In each of these studies, the frequency of the Gly-3 allele or of Gly-33 homozygotes was higher on dry sites than on nearby moist sites. Here we attempt to extend these observations by testing the hypothesis that Gly frequencies respond to soil moisture variation on a range-wide scale. Gly frequencies were surveyed in 11 natural populations, and the frequency of the Gly-3 allele varied from 0.27 to 0.65 among the sample sites. Elevation varied from 1650 to 3100 m, and summer precipitation, defined as precipitation from April to August, varied from 13.7 to 26.4 cm. The soil types at the collection sites were schist, quaternary volcanic or a mixture of shale and sandstone. Logistic regression revealed that Gly frequencies did not respond to either elevation or soil type, but were related to summer precipitation (P < 0.01). The correlation between summer precipitation and the frequency of the Gly-3 allele was r = −0.92 (P < 0.001). Thus, the patterns of differentiation on microgeographical scales are consistent with greater differentiation on a range-wide scale.

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