Genetic Variation of European Beech Populations and Their Progeny from Northeast Germany to Southwest Switzerland
Müller, Markus ; Cuervo-Alarcon, Laura ; Gailing, Oliver ; Rajendra, K.C. ; Chhetri, Meena Suyal ; Seifert, Sarah ; Arend, Matthias ; Krutovsky, Konstantin V. et al.
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/15352
Climate change can adversely affect the growth of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) across its entire distribution range. Therefore, knowledge of the adaptive potential of this species to changing climatic conditions is of foremost importance. Genetic diversity is the basis for adaptation to environmental stress, and the regeneration phase of forests is a key stage affecting genetic diversity. Nevertheless, little is known about the effect of climate change on the genetic diversity of adult trees compared to their progeny. Here, we present genetic diversity data for 24 beech populations ranging from northeast Germany to southwest Switzerland. Potentially adaptive genetic variation was studied using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers in candidate genes that are possibly involved in adaptive trait variation. In addition, more than 2000 adult trees and 3000 of their seedlings were genotyped with simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers to determine selectively neutral genetic diversity and differentiation among populations. All populations showed high SSR and SNP variation, and no differences in genetic diversity were found between adult trees and their offspring. The genetic differentiation between adults and seedlings within the same stands was also insignificant or very low. Therefore, we can conclude tentatively that the transfer of genetic variation among tree generations, currently, is not much affected by climate change, at least in the studied beech populations.