Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Genetic markers

Estimating genetic diversity and the extent of gene flow between populations in fragmented landscapes was the other main goal of our work package. Two different molecular markers were developed to estimate genetic diversity and gene flow, respectively. Genetic diversity was analysed using chloroplast DNA whereas gene flow will be assessed using microsatellite

Chloroplast DNA (cpDNA hereafter) is commonly used in evolutionary and phylogenetic studies given its particular characteristics. In particular, cpDNA evolves slowly and most cpDNA polymorphisms are thought to be caused by structural rearrangement or mutation. However, several other studies have used cpDNA to assess the large-scale genetic relationship among and between populations of plant species across a considerable part of their distribution area. Genetic variation of several TRANSPLANT study species (Succisa pratensis, Hypochaeris radicata, Tragopogon pratensis, Scabiosa columbaria, Pimpinella saxifraga, Ranunculus bulbosus and Carlina vulgaris) was analysed using all cpDNA markers available (around 15 cpDNA markers) and the method of polymerase chain reaction - restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR¿RFLP). To our knowledge, it must be noted that the analysis of cpDNA variation in these species represents a novel result.

Microsatellites are nuclear markers based on the repetition of bases that can show high levels of polymorphism. It still remains controversial whether the variation shown by microsatellites is neutral or not. Nevertheless, microsatellites have been proved to be highly effective for population genetics studies, such as parental analysis, population genetic structuring, or gene flow among fragmented populations. Between 5-10 polymorphic microsatellites were successfully developed for Hypochaeris radicata and are being used to analyse the gene flow among fragmented populations in a Dutch landscape.

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