iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Clonal structure and high genetic diversity at peripheral populations of Sorbus torminalis (L.) Crantz.

Sandra Jankowska-Wroblewska, Katarzyna Meyza, Ewa Sztupecka, Lukasz Kubera, Jaroslaw Burczyk   

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 9, Issue 6, Pages 892-900 (2016)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1885-009
Published: May 29, 2016 - Copyright © 2016 SISEF

Research Articles

Knowing the level of genetic diversity and structure in marginal plant populations is essential for managing their genetic resources. This is particularly important for rare scattered tree species, such as Sorbus torminalis (L.) Crantz. We investigated the genetic diversity and its spatial distribution in peripheral populations of S. torminalis. As the species is known to reproduce vegetatively, we also evaluated clonal structure within populations. Using 13 nuclear microsatellite loci designed in two multiplexes, we genotyped 172 individuals revealing the existence of 100 distinct genotypes. Number of ramets per genotype was variable across populations with an average of 1.72. Examples of somaclonal variation at particular loci were detected. Measures of genetic diversity of the total sample were relatively high (mean allelic richness AR = 10.293; expected heterozygosity He = 0.756), as compared to other S. torminalis populations. We noticed a slightly negative inbreeding coefficient (FIS = -0.029) indicating a small excess of heterozygotes, which is typical for self-incompatible plants. Genetic differentiation among populations was low (FST = 0.048), but Bayesian clustering methods revealed the existence of three distinct genetic clusters only in part related to population structure. Significant spatial genetic structure within populations was also detected (Sp = 0.0125) indicating fine-scale pattern of isolation by distance. Our study demonstrated that peripheral populations of S. torminalis may exhibit relatively high levels of genetic diversity despite the existence of vegetative propagation. Nevertheless, if the studied or similar populations are expected to be utilized as seed sources for ex-situ or in-situ conservation purposes, the existence of clonal structure and spatial genetic structure must be taken into account in order to avoid excessive sampling of the same or closely related genets.


Sorbus torminalis, Clonality, Range Limits, Somatic Mutations, Microsatellites

Authors’ address

Sandra Jankowska-Wroblewska
Katarzyna Meyza
Ewa Sztupecka
Lukasz Kubera
Jaroslaw Burczyk
Institute of Experimental Biology, Department of Genetics, Kazimierz Wielki University of Bydgoszcz, Chodkiewicza 30, 85-064 Bydgoszcz (Poland)

Corresponding author

Jaroslaw Burczyk


Jankowska-Wroblewska S, Meyza K, Sztupecka E, Kubera L, Burczyk J (2016). Clonal structure and high genetic diversity at peripheral populations of Sorbus torminalis (L.) Crantz.. iForest 9: 892-900. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1885-009

Academic Editor

Andrea Piotti

Paper history

Received: Sep 27, 2015
Accepted: Feb 02, 2016

First online: May 29, 2016
Publication Date: Dec 14, 2016
Publication Time: 3.90 months

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