Genetic diversity and hardiness in Scots pine from Scandinavia to Russia

University essay from Umeå universitet/Institutionen för ekologi, miljö och geovetenskap

Abstract: The postglacial recolonization of northern Europe supposedly originated from Western Europe and the Russian Plain, however, recent molecular and macrofossil-based investigations suggest that the history may be more complex than previously thought. This study aims to investigate the genetic diversity and population structure of Scots pine from Scandinavia to Russia to re-evaluate its recolonization history, and to examine whether the pattern of spatial genetic diversity has any adaptive significance. Populations ranging from Norway to Russia were sampled and genotyped using genotyping-by-sequencing. The seedlings were freeze tested to provide an average degree of hardiness for every population. Eight hundred and thirty-two seedlings were analyzed, and 6,034 SNPs were recovered in these individuals after stringent filtering. Population structure was investigated using fastStructure and differentiation between populations was estimated with pairwise FST and analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) to assess the genetic variability. Genetic diversity was measured as observed heterozygosity, H0, in populations, clusters and overall. Two genetic clusters were detected in the samples, one in Norway and Sweden and one in Russia. These clusters are weakly differentiated (FST = 0.01202) with only 0.66 % variation between them. Highest variation was found within populations (98.8 %) and the overall genetic diversity for all populations was high (Ho = 0.2573). The weak differentiation and high diversity are indicative of extensive gene flow between populations in this species. The composition of the clusters across the sampled area suggests a westward recolonization from the Russian Plain into Scandinavia, and a possible local origin of another polymorphism in Norway and Sweden. No clear relationship between cold hardiness and genetic variation was detected. The clinal variation in cold hardiness reflects local adaptation, and the difference between genetic and phenotypic variation is likely due to epigenetic regulation or polygenic inheritance. More extensive genome scan is needed to understand the genetic basis of local adaptation.

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