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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

Maternal heterozygosity and progeny fitness association in an inbred Scots pine population

Abrahamsson, Sara; Ahlinder, Jon; Waldmann, Patrik; Garcia Gil, Rosario


Associations between heterozygosity and fitness traits have typically been investigated in populations characterized by low levels of inbreeding. We investigated the associations between standardized multilocus heterozygosity (stMLH) in mother trees (obtained from12 nuclear microsatellite markers) and five fitness traits measured in progenies from an inbred Scots pine population. The traits studied were proportion of sound seed, mean seed weight, germination rate, mean family height of one-year old seedlings under greenhouse conditions (GH) and mean family height of three-year old seedlings under field conditions (FH). The relatively high average inbreeding coefficient (F) in the population under study corresponds to a mixture of trees with different levels of co-ancestry, potentially resulting from a recent bottleneck. We used both frequentist and Bayesian methods of polynomial regression to investigate the presence of linear and non-linear relations between stMLH and each of the fitness traits. No significant associations were found for any of the traits except for GH, which displayed negative linear effect with stMLH. Negative HFC for GH could potentially be explained by the effect of heterosis caused by mating of two inbred mother trees (Lippman and Zamir 2006), or outbreeding depression at the most heterozygote trees and its negative impact on the fitness of the progeny, while their simultaneous action is also possible (Lynch. 1991). However,since this effect wasn't detected for FH, we cannot either rule out that the greenhouse conditions introduce artificial effects that disappear under more realistic field conditions.


Heterozygosity-fitness correlation; Inbreeding; Nuclear microsatellites; Pinus sylvestris

Published in

2013, Volume: 141, number: 1-3, pages: 41-50
Publisher: SPRINGER