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Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of <i>Alnus cremastogyne</i> as Revealed by Microsatellite Markers

Guo, Hong-Ying, Wang, Ze-Liang, Huang, Zhen, Chen, Zhi, Yang, Han-Bo, Kang, Xiang-Yang
Forests 2019 v.10 no.3
Alnus cremastogyne, alleles, arithmetics, basins, ecological function, genetic markers, genetic variation, geographical distribution, heterozygosity, hills, indigenous species, microsatellite repeats, nitrogen-fixing trees, population genetics, population structure, variance, China
Alnus cremastogyne Burk. is a nonleguminous, nitrogen-fixing tree species. It is also the most important endemic species of Alnus Mill. in China, possessing important ecological functions. This study investigated population genetic variation in A. cremastogyne using 175 trees sampled from 14 populations native to Sichuan Province with 25 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Our analysis showed that A. cremastogyne has an average of 5.83 alleles, 3.37 effective alleles, an expected heterozygosity of 0.63, and an observed heterozygosity of 0.739, indicating a relatively high level of genetic diversity. The A. cremastogyne populations in Liangshan Prefecture (Meigu, Mianning) showed the highest level of genetic diversity, whereas the Yanting population had the lowest. Our analysis also showed that the average genetic differentiation of 14 A. cremastogyne populations was 0.021. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed that 97% of the variation existed within populations; only 3% was among populations. Unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic means (UPGMA) clustering and genetic structure analysis showed that the 14 A. cremastogyne populations could be clearly divided into three clusters: Liangshan Prefecture population, Ganzi Prefecture population, the other population in the mountain area around the Sichuan Basin and central Sichuan hill area, indicating some geographical distribution. Further analysis using the Mantel test showed that this geographical distribution was significantly correlated with elevation.