Genetic structure of natural stands of Fagus sylvatica L. (beech)
Comps Bernard, Merzeau D, Cuguen J., Letouzey J, Thiebaut Bernard
The spatial genetic structures of three French natural beech stands were analysed using polymorphic enzyme loci. Two methods were used: F-statistics and spatial autocorrelation statistics. Within these stands where self-fertilization rate is 0, a low heterozygote deficit was observed which may be due to a moderate level of mating between relatives. However, no increase of this deficit was observed from one generation to the next. The spatial genetic structuring was low. Within one open stand composed of several patches, founder events are invoked to explain a significant autocorrelation. Within the two other stands, both dense, results are similar to those produced by simulations of an isolation by distance model. The genetic structure seems not to be stable in space and time which may be due to (i) a limited number of generations; (ii) an effective gene flow less limited than hypothesized; and (iii) fertility differences or phenological incompatibilities between individuals.