• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of geneticsGeneticsCurrent IssueInformation for AuthorsEditorial BoardSubscribeSubmit a Manuscript
Genetics. Mar 2000; 154(3): 1309–1321.
PMCID: PMC1461003

Effects of colonization processes on genetic diversity: differences between annual plants and tree species.


Tree species are striking for their high within-population diversity and low among-population differentiation for nuclear genes. In contrast, annual plants show much more differentiation for nuclear genes but much less diversity than trees. The usual explanation for this difference is that pollen flow, and therefore gene flow, is much higher for trees. This explanation is problematic because it relies on equilibrium hypotheses. Because trees have very recently recolonized temperate areas, they have experienced many foundation events, which usually reduce within-population diversity and increase differentiation. Only extremely high levels of gene flow could counterbalance these successive founder effects. We develop a model to study the impact of life cycle of forest trees, in particular of the length of their juvenile phase, on genetic diversity and differentiation during the glacial period and the following colonization period. We show that both a reasonably high level of pollen flow and the life-cycle characteristics of trees are needed to explain the observed structure of genetic diversity. We also show that gene flow and life cycle both have an impact on maternally inherited cytoplasmic genes, which are characterized both in trees and annual species by much less diversity and much more differentiation than nuclear genes.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (230K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Hays JD, Imbrie J, Shackleton NJ. Variations in the Earth's Orbit: Pacemaker of the Ice Ages. Science. 1976 Dec 10;194(4270):1121–1132. [PubMed]
  • Latta RG, Mitton JB. A comparison of population differentiation across four classes of gene marker in limber pine (Pinus flexilis James). Genetics. 1997 Jul;146(3):1153–1163. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Barbujani G, Magagni A, Minch E, Cavalli-Sforza LL. An apportionment of human DNA diversity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Apr 29;94(9):4516–4519. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Barton NH. Population genetics: a new apportionment of human diversity. Curr Biol. 1997 Dec 1;7(12):R757–R758. [PubMed]
  • Maruyama T. Analysis of population structure. II. Two-dimensional stepping stone models of finite length and other geographically structured populations. Ann Hum Genet. 1971 Oct;35(2):179–196. [PubMed]
  • McCauley DE. Contrasting the distribution of chloroplast DNA and allozyme polymorphism among local populations of Silene alba: implications for studies of gene flow in plants. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Aug 16;91(17):8127–8131. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Nei M. Analysis of gene diversity in subdivided populations. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1973 Dec;70(12):3321–3323. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Orive ME. Effective population size in organisms with complex life-histories. Theor Popul Biol. 1993 Dec;44(3):316–340. [PubMed]
  • Dong J, Wagner DB. Paternally inherited chloroplast polymorphism in Pinus: estimation of diversity and population subdivision, and tests of disequilibrium with a maternally inherited mitochondrial polymorphism. Genetics. 1994 Mar;136(3):1187–1194. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Petit RJ, Pineau E, Demesure B, Bacilieri R, Ducousso A, Kremer A. Chloroplast DNA footprints of postglacial recolonization by oaks. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Sep 2;94(18):9996–10001. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Slatkin M. Inbreeding coefficients and coalescence times. Genet Res. 1991 Oct;58(2):167–175. [PubMed]

Articles from Genetics are provided here courtesy of Genetics Society of America


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...