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Modelling and estimating pollen movement in oilseed rape (Brassica napus) at the landscape scale using genetic markers


C. Devaux, Fax: +33 1 69 15 46 97; E-mail:


Understanding patterns of pollen movement at the landscape scale is important for establishing management rules following the release of genetically modified (GM) crops. We use here a mating model adapted to cultivated species to estimate dispersal kernels from the genotypes of the progenies of male-sterile plants positioned at different sampling sites within a 10 × 10-km oilseed rape production area. Half of the pollen clouds sampled by the male-sterile plants originated from uncharacterized pollen sources that could consist of both large volunteer and feral populations, and fields within and outside the study area. The geometric dispersal kernel was the most appropriate to predict pollen movement in the study area. It predicted a much larger proportion of long-distance pollination than previously fitted dispersal kernels. This best-fitting mating model underestimated the level of differentiation among pollen clouds but could predict its spatial structure. The estimation method was validated on simulated genotypic data, and proved to provide good estimates of both the shape of the dispersal kernel and the rate and composition of pollen issued from uncharacterized pollen sources. The best dispersal kernel fitted here, the geometric kernel, should now be integrated into models that aim at predicting gene flow at the landscape level, in particular between GM and non-GM crops.