Genetic effects of air pollution on forest tree species of the Carpathian Mountains

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Conference Proceeding

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The effects of air pollution on the genetic structure of Norway spruce, European silver fir and European beech were studied at four polluted sites in Slovakia, Romania and Czech Republic. In order to reduce potential effects of site heterogeneity on the health condition, pair-wise sampling of pollution-tolerant and sensitive trees was applied. Genotypes of sampled trees were determined at 21 isozyme gene loci of spruce, 18 loci of fir and 15 loci of beech. In comparison with Norway spruce, fewer genetic differences were revealed in beech and almost no differentiation between pollution-tolerant and sensitive trees was observed in fir. In adult stands of Norway spruce, sensitive trees exhibited higher genetic multiplicity and diversity. The decline of pollution-sensitive trees may result thus in a gradual genetic depletion of pollution-exposed populations of Norway spruce through the loss of less frequent alleles with potential adaptive significance to altered stressing regimes in the future. Comparison of the subsets of sensitive and tolerant Norway spruce individuals as determined by presence or absence of discolorations ("spruce yellowing") revealed different heterozygosity at 3 out of 11 polymorphic loci. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Environmental Pollution