Long-distance pollen flow and tolerance to selfing in a neotropical tree species


Henri Caron, INRA, Laboratoire de Génétique des Arbres Forestiers, BP45 33611, Gazinet cedex, France. Fax: 33 (0) 5 57 12 28 81; E-mail:


Outcrossing rates, pollen dispersal and male mating success were assessed in Dicorynia guianensis Amshoff, a neotropical tree endemic to the Guiana shield. All adult trees within a continuous area of 40 ha (n = 157) were mapped, and were genotyped with six microsatellite loci. In addition, progenies were genotyped from 22 mature trees. At the population level, the species was mostly outcrossing (tm = 0.89) but there was marked variation among individuals. One tree exhibited mixed mating, confirming earlier results obtained with isozymes that D. guianensis can tolerate selfing. A Bayesian extension of the fractional paternity method was used for paternity analysis, and was compared with the neighbourhood method used widely for forest trees. Both methods indicated that pollen dispersal was only weakly related to distance between trees within the study area, and that the majority (62%) of pollen came from outside the study stand. Using maximum likelihood, male potential population size was estimated to be 1119, corresponding to a neighbourhood size of 560 hectares. Male mating success was, however, related to the diameter of the stem and to flowering intensity assessed visually. The mating behaviour of D. guianensis is a combination of long-distance pollen flow and occasional selfing. The species can still reproduce when it is extremely rare, either by selfing or by dispersing pollen at long distances. These results, together with the observation that male mating success was correlated with the size of the trees, could be implemented in management procedures aiming at regenerating the species.