How Many Seed Transfer Zones Are Necessary for the Preservation of the Genetic Identity of Austrocedrus chilensis Natural Populations in Argentina?


  • Mario J. Pastorino

    Corresponding author
    1. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Argentina
    • Unidad de Genética Ecológica y Mejoramiento Forestal, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), EEA Bariloche, S.C. de Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina
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Address correspondence to M. J. Pastorino, email


Two different studies based on isozymes that include genetic structure analysis have arrived at contrasting conclusions regarding the minimum number of seed transfer zones for Patagonian cypress (Austrocedrus chilensis) in Argentina that are required in order to avoid genetic contamination in restoration programs. Unfortunately, the more recent article lacks discussion on these controversial results, which is, therefore, the purpose of this article. The reliability of the markers used and the sampling performed in these studies are evaluated comparatively. The later study found higher levels of diversity and differentiation but paradoxically suggested that only two seed transfer zones would be enough to preserve the genetic identity of the natural populations of the species, whereas the earlier study concluded that at least five are necessary. Arguments are presented here for the case that definition of fewer than five genetically homogeneous groups is absolutely inappropriate and implies a probable risk of genetic contamination and maladaptation.