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Wind-Dispersed Pollen Mediates Postglacial Gene Flow among Refugia

Sascha Liepelt, Ronald Bialozyt and Birgit Ziegenhagen
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 99, No. 22 (Oct. 29, 2002), pp. 14590-14594
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3073629
Page Count: 5
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Wind-Dispersed Pollen Mediates Postglacial Gene Flow among Refugia
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Abstract

A long-term genetic legacy of refugial isolation has been postulated and was demonstrated for maternal refugial lineages for numerous plant and animal species. The lineages were assumed to have remained separated from each other for several glacial periods. The conifer Abies alba Miller, silver fir, is an excellent model to test whether pollen-mediated gene flow may eliminate the genetic imprints of Pleistocene refugial isolation. Two DNA markers with contrasting modes of inheritance were applied to 100 populations covering the entire range of silver fir in Europe. The markers exhibited each two highly conserved alleles based on an insertion/deletion of 80 bp in the fourth intron of the mitochondrial nad5 gene and on a synonymous substitution in the chloroplast psbC gene. The geographical distribution of the maternally inherited mitochondrial variation supported the existence of at least two refugia with two recolonizing maternal lineages remaining largely separated throughout the range. The cline of the nad5 allele frequencies was much steeper than the one of the two psbC alleles. The psbC cline was as wide as the whole range of the species. Our results provide striking evidence that even a species with very long generation times and heavy pollen grains was able to establish a highly efficient pollen-mediated gene flow between refugia. Therefore we postulate that an exchange of genetic information between refugia by range-wide paternal introgression is possible in wind-pollinated plant species.

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