Title

Deciphering the Population Genetic Structure of Eastern Leatherwood (Dirca palustris) Using ISSR- Analysis

Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

2010

Advisor

Gordon Brown, Biology

Abstract

Using intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) analysis, the goal of this study was to determine the relationship between geographic and genetic distance within a population of the shrub, Dirca palustris, located in Central Minnesota. We formulated hypotheses based on levels of observed geographic structure: (1) Dirca subpopulations separated by greater than four kilometers will exhibit greater genetic differentiation than is observed among closer subpopulations; (2) Dirca subpopulations separated by less than four kilometers will exhibit greater genetic differentiation than is observed among discrete plant clusters within subpopulations; and (3) discrete clusters within a subpopulation will produce genetic patterns enabling us to identify potential parent-offspring relationships. On spatial scales less than seven kilometers Dirca does not exhibit significant geographic structuring by genetics. Parent-offspring relationships within a plant cluster were not observed. The results suggest that factors such as population history, seed disperser and pollinator ranges, local adaptive pressures, or clonal regeneration may play a greater role in Dirca population structure.

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