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Impact of monoecy in the genetic structure of a predominately dioecious conifer species, Araucaria angustifolia (Bert.) O. Kuntze

Danner, M. A., Ribeiro, J. Z., Zanette, F., Bittencourt, J. V. M., Sebbenn, A. M.
Plant systematics and evolution 2013 v.299 no.5 pp. 949-958
Araucaria angustifolia, alleles, conifers, genetic variation, genotype, inbreeding, microsatellite repeats, monoecy, outcrossing, pollen, pollination, seed trees, selfing, tree breeding
Understanding the mating system of a tree species is important in genetic conservation and tree breeding strategies because it affects the inbreeding and genetic diversity of the descendant populations. Araucaria angustifolia (Bert.) O. Kuntze is a mainly dioecious species that reproduces through outcrossing. However, some monoecious trees have been identified and they may reproduce through self-fertilization. The objective of this study was to confirm the expected relatedness of full-sibs in outcrossed hand-pollinated progenies of female seed trees, self-sibs of hand self-pollinated monoecious seed trees, and to investigate the mating system of open-pollinated progenies of female and monoecious A. angustifolia trees. To do this, eight microsatellite loci were used to genotype hand- and open-pollinated progenies. Our results show that the relatedness of outcrossed hand-pollinated progenies are true full-sibs and progenies from a selfed monoecious seed tree are self-sibs, which confirms the hand-pollination method used. Open-pollinated female seed trees reproduced only by outcrossing, generating progenies with a mixture of full- and half-sibs. Monoecious seed trees reproduced mainly by xenogamy, generating progenies with mixtures of self-sibs, full-sibs, half-sibs and self-half-sibs. We also found that an increase in the effective number of pollen donors ([Formula: see text]) would lead to an increase in the total number of alleles ([Formula: see text]) within progenies. Our results also suggest that monecious trees have limited potential to modify the genetic structure through selfed seed production due to the very low estimated selfing rate in these trees and the rare occurrence of these trees in natural populations.