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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Genetic Diversity and Population Differentiation of Pinus koraiensis in China

Li, Xiang; Zhao, Minghui; Xu, Yujin; Li, Yan; Tigabu, Mulualem; Zhao, Xiyang


Pinus koraiensis is a well-known precious tree species in East Asia with high economic, ornamental and ecological value. More than fifty percent of the P. koraiensis forests in the world are distributed in northeast China, a region with abundant germplasm resources. However, these natural P. koraiensis sources are in danger of genetic erosion caused by continuous climate changes, natural disturbances such as wildfire and frequent human activity. Little work has been conducted on the population genetic structure and genetic differentiation of P. koraiensis in China because of the lack of genetic information. In this study, 480 P. koraiensis individuals from 16 natural populations were sampled and genotyped. Fifteen polymorphic expressed sequence tag-simple sequence repeat (EST-SSR) markers were used to evaluate genetic diversity, population structure and differentiation in P. koraiensis. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) of the EST-SSR marker data showed that 33% of the total genetic variation was among populations and 67% was within populations. A high level of genetic diversity was found across the P. koraiensis populations, and the highest levels of genetic diversity were found in HH, ZH, LS and TL populations. Moreover, pairwise Fst values revealed significant genetic differentiation among populations (mean Fst = 0.177). According to the results of the STRUCTURE and Neighbor-joining (NJ) tree analyses and principal component analysis (PCA), the studied geographical populations cluster into two genetic clusters: cluster 1 from Xiaoxinganling Mountains and cluster 2 from Changbaishan Mountains. These results are consistent with the geographical distributions of the populations. The results provide new genetic information for future genome-wide association studies (GWAS), marker-assisted selection (MAS) and genomic selection (GS) in natural P. koraiensis breeding programs and can aid the development of conservation and management strategies for this valuable conifer species.


Pinus koraiensis; EST-SSRs; genetic diversity; population structure; population differentiation; gene flow

Published in

2021, Volume: 7, number: 5, article number: 104
Publisher: MDPI

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