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Serbian spruce, a narrow endemic, contains much genetic variation

Serbian spruce, a narrow endemic, contains much genetic variation

Canadian journal of forest research = Revue canadienne de recherche forestiere 21(3): 363-367

Serbian spruce (Picea omorika (Pancic) Purk.) is reputedly a self-fertile and morphologically uniform species with a natural distribution restricted to a total area of less than 60 ha in central Yugoslavia. This has led to the conclusion that the species lacks genetic variation. In this study, genetic variation at 19 enzyme loci was investigated in two populations: a natural Yugoslavian population and a cultivated Finnish population. The average expected heterozygosities over 19 loci were 0.13 and 0.15 in the two populations, which are similar to those observed in other conifers. Heritabilities of four seedling traits were estimated on the basis of a progeny trial. They varied from 0.34 to 1.23, with standard deviations of 0.17-0.37. Because of maternal effects, these are probably inflated estimates, but they show that there may be considerable genetic variation in quantitative traits, as well. The observed amount of genetic variation in Serbian spruce is unexpectedly high considering its self-fertility and lack of morphological variation. We conclude that drift due to small population size has not had a large impact on the level of genetic variation in this species. The lack of morphological variation observed by many authors is probably a result of selection.

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Accession: 002219193

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DOI: 10.1139/x91-044

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