Evidence of Low Chloroplast Genetic Diversity in Two Carpinus Species in the Northern Balkans
Genetic diversity and differentiation in two Carpinus species (C. betulus and C. orientalis) occurring in Romania was investigated by using three chloroplast Simple Sequence Repeat markers (cpSSRs). A total of 96 and 32 individuals were sampled in eighteen C. betulus and six C. orientalis populations, respectively. A total of four chloroplast haplotypes were observed. Two haplotypes were specific for C. betulus and two for C. orientalis. Most of C. betulus populations were fixed for the predominant haplotype (H1), which was observed in 82% of the individuals. All C. orientalis populations were fixed for one haplotype or the other. Populations with haplotype (H3) are spread in southern Romania and the haplotype (H4) was observed at the northern limit of C. orientalis natural distribution range. Genetic differentiation among populations was moderate in C. betulus (GST = 0.422), compared to the high value observed in C. orientalis (GST = 1.000), which can be explained by the occurrence of a distinct haplotype in the peripheral population. RST values for both species suggest low levels of recurrent gene flow through seeds among populations. Our data on geographic distribution of chloroplast DNA haplotypes may be useful for the identification and conservation of distinct genetic resources of the two Carpinus species.
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