Geostatistical genetic analysis for inferring the dispersal pattern of a partially clonal species: example of the chestnut blight fungus


C. Dutech, Fax: +33 5 57 12 26 21; E-mail:


Spatial genetic analyses can be used to infer dispersal processes in natural populations. For partially clonal species with alternating sexual and asexual reproduction, the repetition of genotypes must be taken into account in analyses. The methods currently employed to evaluate the relevance of the spatial scale used for the estimation of gene flow are not suitable for these species. We investigated recently developed methods for taking into account repeated genotypes and for determining whether the sampling scale is large enough to capture all the spatial genetic structure existing within a population. We applied these methods to a fungal plant pathogen species, Cryphonectria parasitica, which has caused the death of many American and European chestnut trees since its introduction from Asia at the beginning of the 20th century. These methods were found to be useful for unravelling the effects of clonality and historical gene flow on the spatial genetic structure, and indicated that dispersal processes have probably occurred over a larger spatial scale than previously assumed.