Landscape genetics structure of European sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa Mill):indications for conservation priorities

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Mattioni, Claudia ; Martin, Angela ; Chiocchini, Francesca ; Cherubini, Marcello ; Gaudet, Muriel ; Pollegioni, Paola ; Velichkov, Ivaylo ; Jarman, Rob ; Chambers, Frank M ; Paule, Ladislave ; Damian, Vasilica ; Crainic, Ghita ; Villani, Fiorella (2017)

Sweet chestnut is a tree of great economic (fruit and wood production), ecological and\ud cultural importance in Europe. A large-scale landscape genetic analysis of natural\ud populations of sweet chestnut across Europe is applied to 1) evaluate the geographic\ud patterns of genetic diversity 2) identify spatial coincidences between genetic\ud discontinuities and geographic barriers 3) propose certain chestnut populations as\ud reservoirs of genetic diversity for conservation and breeding programmes. Six\ud polymorphic microsatellite markers were used for genotyping 1608 wild trees sampled\ud in 73 European sites. The Geostatistical IDW technique (ArcGIS 9.3) was used to\ud produce maps of genetic diversity parameters (He, Ar, PAr) and a synthetic map of the\ud population membership (Q value) to the different gene pools. Genetic barriers were\ud investigated using BARRIER 2.2 software and their locations were overlaid on a Digital\ud Elevation Model (GTOPO30). The DIVA-GIS software was used to propose priority\ud areas for conservation. High values of genetic diversity (He) and allelic richness (Ar)\ud were observed in the central area of C. sativa's European distribution range. The\ud highest values of private allelic richness (PAr) were found in the eastern area. Three\ud main gene pools and a significant genetic barrier separating the eastern from the\ud central and western populations were identified. Areas with high priority for genetic\ud conservation were indicated in Georgia, eastern Turkey and Italy. Our results increase\ud knowledge of the biogeographic history of C. sativa in Europe, indicate the geographic\ud location of different gene pools and identify potential priority reservoirs of genetic\ud diversity.
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