Journal Article

Searching for gene flow from cultivated to wild strawberries in Central Europe

Juerg Schulze, Peter Stoll, Alex Widmer and Andreas Erhardt

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 107, issue 4, pages 699-707
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online February 2011 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcr018
Searching for gene flow from cultivated to wild strawberries in Central Europe

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

Experimental crosses between the diploid woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca L.) and the octoploid garden strawberry (F. × ananassa Duch.) can lead to the formation of viable hybrids. However, the extent of such hybrid formation under natural conditions is unknown, but is of fundamental interest and importance in the light of the potential future cultivation of transgenic strawberries. A hybrid survey was therefore conducted in the surroundings of ten farms in Switzerland and southern Germany, where strawberries have been cultivated for at least 10 years and where wild strawberries occur in the close vicinity.

Methods

In 2007 and 2008, 370 wild F. vesca plants were sampled at natural populations around farms and analysed with microsatellite markers. In 2010, natural populations were revisited and morphological traits of 3050 F. vesca plants were inspected. DNA contents of cell nuclei of morphologically deviating plants were estimated by flow cytometry to identify hybrids. As controls, 50 hybrid plants from interspecific hand-crosses were analysed using microsatellite analysis and DNA contents of cell nuclei were estimated by flow cytometry.

Key Results

None of the wild samples collected in 2007 and 2008 contained F. × ananassa microsatellite markers, while all hybrids from hand-crosses clearly contained markers of both parent species. Morphological inspection of wild populations carried out in 2010 and subsequent flow cytometry of ten morphologically deviating plants revealed no hybrids.

Conclusions

Hybrid formation or hybrid establishment in natural populations in the survey area is at best a rare event.

Keywords: Fragaria vesca; Fragaria × ananassa; hybridization; microsatellite markers; genetically modified organisms; gene flow

Journal Article.  7133 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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