Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Gene flow among different taxonomic units: evidence from nuclear and cytoplasmic markers in Cedrus plantation forests.

Abstract

Hybridization and introgression are important natural evolutionary processes that can be successfully investigated using molecular markers and open- and controlled-pollinated progeny. In this study, we collected open-pollinated seeds from Cedrus atlantica, Cedrus libani and C. libani × C. atlantica hybrids from three French-plantation forests. We also used pollen from C. libani and Cedrus brevifolia to pollinate C. atlantica trees. The progeny were analysed using three different types of molecular markers: RAPDs, AFLPs and cpSSRs. Chloroplast DNA was found to be paternally inherited in Cedrus from the progeny of controlled-crosses. Heteroplasmy, although possible, could not be undoubtedly detected. There was no indication of strong reproductive isolating barriers among the three Mediterranean Cedrus taxa. Gene flow between C. atlantica and C. libani accounted for 67 to 81% of viable open-pollinated seedlings in two plantation forests. We propose that Mediterranean Cedrus taxa should be considered as units of a single collective species comprising two regional groups, North Africa and the Middle East. We recommend the use of cpSSRs for monitoring gene flow between taxa in plantation forests, especially in areas where garden specimens of one species are planted in the vicinity of selected seed-stands and gene-conservation reserves of another species.