Genetic variation and differentiation in Juniperus excelsa M. Bieb. populations in Turkey

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Genetic variation within and among six populations of Juniperus excelsa M. Bieb., in a common garden in Lakes District of Turkey, was analyzed using four nuclear microsatellite primer pairs originally developed for J. communis. A total of five loci were observed as Jc037 amplified two distinct size ranges. The number of alleles observed for the species varied from 2 to 13, with an average of 4.5 alleles per locus. The mean expected heterozygosity (H e) of populations was 0.584, after correction for null alleles. The mean F IS value (-0.014) was close to zero showing no significant deviation from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. A low level of genetic differentiation was observed among populations (F ST = 0.028; p < 0.001) and Nei's genetic distance ranged from 0.014 to 0.120 between population pairs. Furthermore, there was no significant correlation between genetic distances on the one hand and geographic distances and trait differentiation on the other hand. However, the eastern populations Beyşehir and Sorgun showed very similar genotypic structures and were differentiated from all other populations. A continuous monitoring of phenotypic traits and the association between nucleotide variation in functional genes and adaptive traits such as drought and frost tolerance of J. excelsa populations in common gardens will be useful to design effective conservation strategies in the future. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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Trees - Structure and Function