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Genetic structure of Suillus luteus populations in heavy metal polluted and nonpolluted habitats

Authors

  • LUDO A. H. MULLER,

    1. Center for Environmental Sciences, Environmental Biology Group, Universiteit Hasselt, Universitaire Campus, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium,
    2. Duke University Medical Center, Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, DUMC Box 3020, Durham NC 27710, USA
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  • JACO VANGRONSVELD,

    1. Center for Environmental Sciences, Environmental Biology Group, Universiteit Hasselt, Universitaire Campus, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium,
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  • JAN V. COLPAERT

    1. Center for Environmental Sciences, Environmental Biology Group, Universiteit Hasselt, Universitaire Campus, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium,
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Ludo A. H. Muller, Fax: +1 (919) 684 8735; E-mail: ludo.muller@duke.edu

Abstract

The genetic structure of populations of the ectomycorrhizal basidiomycete Suillus luteus in heavy metal polluted and nonpolluted areas was studied. Sporocarps were collected at nine different locations and genotyped at four microsatellite loci. Six of the sampling sites were severely contaminated with heavy metals and were dominated by heavy metal-tolerant individuals. Considerable genetic diversity was found within the geographical subpopulations, but no reduction of the genetic diversity, current or historic, was observed in subpopulations inhabiting polluted soils. The genetic differentiation between the geographical subpopulations was low, and no evidence for clustering of subpopulations from polluted soils vs. subpopulations from nonpolluted soils was found. These results indicate that heavy metal pollution has a limited effect on the genetic structure of S. luteus populations, and this may be due to the high frequency of sexual reproduction and extensive gene flow in S. luteus, which allows rapid evolution of the tolerance trait while maintaining high levels of genetic diversity.

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