Genetic variation in 12 Pinus pinaster (maritime pine) populations spanning most of the distribution range of the species in Portugal was evaluated using six polymorphic chloroplast microsatellite (cpSSR) loci. Thirty-two haplotypes were found. There were indications of very weak differentiation among populations (Weir's θ coefficient, 0.023), and the RST value, derived from the stepwise mutation model (SMM), was not significantly different from zero. The pattern, in which similarities in allele size, in base pairs, do not contribute to the genetic structure, may be due to the recent mixing of genetic material from different stands through plantations. Overall, a high level of haplotypic variation within populations was detected. Using the SMM estimator (mean genetic distance of individuals within populations, Dsh/2) we divided the populations into two groups, with above and below average values. The first group contained 5 populations, mainly from the central part of the country, which possess, in general, high levels of haplotypic diversity. Among them, 2 populations were divergent from the others based on the pair-wise Nei's distance. The results indicate that there is no discernible geographic genetic pattern for the Portuguese populations of P. pinaster investigated. The history of expansion of the species range in Portugal during the twentieth century (mainly due to human activity) and extensive gene flow among populations associated with the expansion could explain this finding.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science