Section: Evolutionary Biology
Topic: Evolution, Genetics/genomics, Population biology

Does the seed fall far from the tree? Weak fine-scale genetic structure in a continuous Scots pine population

10.24072/pcjournal.413 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 4 (2024), article no. e45.

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Knowledge of fine-scale spatial genetic structure, i.e., the distribution of genetic diversity at short distances, is important in evolutionary research and in practical applications such as conservation and breeding programs. In trees, related individuals often grow close to each other due to limited seed and/or pollen dispersal. The extent of seed dispersal also limits the speed at which a tree species can spread to new areas. We studied the fine-scale spatial genetic structure of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) in two naturally regenerated sites located 20 km from each other in continuous south-eastern Finnish forest. We genotyped almost 500 adult trees for 150k SNPs using a custom made Affymetrix array. We detected some pairwise relatedness at short distances, but the average relatedness was low and decreased with increasing distance, as expected. Despite the clustering of related individuals, the sampling sites were not differentiated (FST = 0.0005). According to our results, Scots pine has a large neighborhood size (Nb = 1680–3210), but a relatively short gene dispersal distance (σg = 36.5–71.3 m). Knowledge of Scots pine fine-scale spatial genetic structure can be used to define suitable sampling distances for evolutionary studies and practical applications. Detailed empirical estimates of dispersal are necessary both in studying post-glacial recolonization and predicting the response of forest trees to climate change.

Published online:
DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.413
Type: Research article

Niskanen, Alina K. 1, 2; Kujala, Sonja T. 3; Kärkkäinen, Katri 3; Savolainen, Outi 1; Pyhäjärvi, Tanja 2

1 Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, University of Oulu, 90014 University of Oulu, Finland
2 Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
3 Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Paavo Havaksen tie 3, 90570 Oulu, Finland
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
     author = {Niskanen, Alina K. and Kujala, Sonja T. and K\"arkk\"ainen, Katri and Savolainen, Outi and Pyh\"aj\"arvi, Tanja},
     title = {Does the seed fall far from the tree? {Weak} fine-scale genetic structure in a continuous {Scots} pine population},
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%A Kujala, Sonja T.
%A Kärkkäinen, Katri
%A Savolainen, Outi
%A Pyhäjärvi, Tanja
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Niskanen, Alina K.; Kujala, Sonja T.; Kärkkäinen, Katri; Savolainen, Outi; Pyhäjärvi, Tanja. Does the seed fall far from the tree? Weak fine-scale genetic structure in a continuous Scots pine population. Peer Community Journal, Volume 4 (2024), article  no. e45. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.413.

PCI peer reviews and recommendation, and links to data, scripts, code and supplementary information: 10.24072/pci.evolbiol.100664

Conflict of interest of the recommender and peer reviewers:
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article.

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