Genetic analyses reveal high levels of seed and pollen flow in hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq.), a key component of hedgerows

James A. Brown, Gemma Beatty, Caroline M. V. Finlay, W. Ian Montgomery, David G. Tosh, James Provan

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Abstract

Hedgerows represent important components of agri-environment landscapes that are increasingly coming under threat from climate change, emergent diseases, invasive species and land-use change. Given that population genetic data can be used to inform best-practice management strategies for woodland and hedgerow tree species, we carried out a study on hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna Jacq.), a key component of hedgerows, on a regional basis using a combination of nuclear and chloroplast microsatellite markers. We found that levels of genetic diversity were high and comparable to, or slightly higher than, other tree species from the same region. Levels of population differentiation for both sets of markers, however, were extremely low, suggesting extensive gene flow via both seed and pollen. These findings suggest that a holistic approach to woodland management, one which does not necessarily rely on the concept of “seed zones” previously suggested, but which also takes into account populations with high and/or rare chloroplast (i.e. seed-specific) genetic variation, might be the best approach to restocking and replanting.
Original languageEnglish
Article number58
JournalTree Genetics and Genomes
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2016

Keywords

  • Crataegus monogyna
  • gene flow
  • genetic diversity
  • hawthorn
  • microsatellites
  • woodland management

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