Genetic variation of 17 populations of Pinus mugo Turra was studied using 10 polymorphic allozyme loci. Polymorphism and gene diversity in these populations were comparable to mean values for gymnosperm species, but slightly lower than in pines with large and continuous ranges. We did not find significant interpopulation differentiation (FST = 0.041) or isolation by distance, suggesting that gene flow might be extensive or that the time elapsed since the species range became fragmented has been too short for genetic differentiation to arise via genetic drift. We detected moderate and statistically significant levels of inbreeding (mean FIS = 0.252) for all loci in all populations. Although there are many possible explanations for this nonequilibrium population structure, we propose that the main reasons for its ubiquity are the peculiar growth form and reproductive biology of P. mugo, which promote excessive near-neighbor pollinations. Populations in Vitosha Mountain and western Stara Planina had the highest levels of inbreeding and the lowest observed heterozygosities. All populations in these mountains are small and isolated, but none of them is under a special regime of protection. Thus, the conservation status of P. mugo populations in Vitosha Mountain and western Stara Planina may deserve reevaluation. Future gene conservation efforts should focus on obtaining information on the genetic variation of adaptive traits in P. mugo.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Forest Research|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2004|