Journal Article

Diversity and population structure of a dominant deciduous tree based on morphological and genetic data

Qin-di Zhang, Rui-Zhi Jia, Chao Meng, Chao-Wen Ti and Yi-Ling Wang


Published on behalf of Annals of Botany Company

Volume 7, issue
Published online August 2015 | e-ISSN: 2041-2851 | DOI:

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  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Plant Evolution


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Knowledge of the genetic diversity and structure of tree species across their geographic ranges is essential for sustainable use and management of forest ecosystems. Acer grosseri Pax., an economically and ecologically important maple species, is mainly distributed in North China. In this study, the genetic diversity and population differentiation of 24 natural populations of this species were evaluated using sequence-related amplified polymorphism markers and morphological characters. The results show that highly significant differences occurred in 32 morphological traits. The coefficient of variation of 34 characters was 18.19 %. Principal component analysis indicated that 18 of 34 traits explained 60.20 % of the total variance. The phenotypic differentiation coefficient (VST) was 36.06 % for all morphological traits. The Shannon–Wiener index of 34 morphological characters was 6.09, while at the population level, it was 1.77. The percentage of polymorphic bands of all studied A. grosseri populations was 82.14 %. Nei's gene diversity (He) and Shannon's information index (I) were 0.35 and 0.50, respectively. Less genetic differentiation was detected among the natural populations (GST = 0.20, ΦST = 0.10). Twenty-four populations of A. grosseri formed two main clusters, which is consistent with morphological cluster analysis. Principal coordinates analysis and STRUCTURE analysis supported the UPGMA-cluster dendrogram. There was no significant correlation between genetic and geographical distances among populations. Both molecular and morphological data suggested that A. grosseri is rich in genetic diversity. The high level of genetic variation within populations could be affected by the biological characters, mating system and lifespan of A. grosseri, whereas the lower genetic diversity among populations could be caused by effective gene exchange, selective pressure from environmental heterogeneity and the species' geographical range.

Keywords: Acer grosseri Pax.; genetic diversity; genetic structure; morphological traits; sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP)

Journal Article.  7277 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics ; Plant Evolution