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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2014

Genetic diversity, population structure and phenotypic variation in European Salix viminalis L. (Salicaceae)

Berlin Kolm, Sofia; Trybush, Sviatlana; Fogelqvist, Johan; Gyllenstrand, Niclas; Hallingbäck, Henrik; Åhman, Inger; Nordh, Nils-Erik; Shield, Ian; Powers, Stephen J.; Weih, Martin; Lagerkrantz, Ulf; Rönnberg Wästljung, Ann-Christin; Karp, Angela; Hanley, Steven J


To investigate the potential of association genetics for willow breeding, Salix viminalis germplasm was assembled from UK and Swedish collections (comprising accessions from several European countries) and new samples collected from nature. A subset of the germplasm was planted at two sites (UK and Sweden), genotyped using 38 SSR markers and assessed for phenological and biomass traits. Population structure, genetic differentiation (F-ST) and quantitative trait differentiation (Q(ST)) were investigated. The extent and patterns of trait adaptation were assessed by comparing F-ST and Q(ST) parameters. Of the 505 genotyped diploid accessions, 27 % were not unique. Genetic diversity was high: 471 alleles was amplified; the mean number of alleles per locus was 13.46, mean observed heterozygosity was 0.55 and mean expected heterozygosity was 0.62. Bayesian clustering identified four subpopulations which generally corresponded to Western Russia, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Sweden. All pairwise F-ST values were highly significant (p<0.001) with the greatest genetic differentiation detected between the Western Russian and the Western European subpopulations (F-ST = 0.12), and the smallest between the Swedish and Eastern European populations (F-ST = 0.04). The Swedish population also had the highest number of identical accessions, supporting the view that S. viminalis was introduced into this country and has been heavily influenced by humans. Q(ST) values were high for growth cessation and leaf senescence, and to some extent stem diameter, but low for bud burst time and shoot number. Overall negative clines between longitudinal coordinates and leaf senescence, bud burst and stem diameter were also found.


Salix; Population structure; Adaptation; Breeding; SSRs

Published in

Tree Genetics and Genomes
2014, Volume: 10, number: 6, pages: 1595-1610