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Heredity (Edinb). 2005 Oct;95(4):274-80.

Monitoring genetic diversity in tropical trees with multilocus dominant markers.

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  • 1UMR Biodiversité, Gènes & Ecosystèmes, INRA UMR BIOGECO, 69 route d'Arcachon, 33612 Cestas Cedex, France.


Since no universal codominant markers are currently available, dominant genetic markers, such as amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), are valuable tools for assessing genetic diversity in tropical trees. However, the measurement of genetic diversity (H) with dominant markers depends on the frequency of null homozygotes (Q) and the fixation index (F) of populations. While Q can be estimated for AFLP loci, F is less accessible. Through a modelling approach, we show that the monolocus estimation of genetic diversity is strongly dependent on the value of F, but that the multilocus diversity estimate is surprisingly robust to variations in F. The robustness of the estimate is due to a mechanistic effect of compensation between negative and positive biases of H by different AFLP loci exhibiting contrasting frequency profiles of Q. The robustness was tested across contrasting theoretical frequency profiles of Q and verified for 10 neotropical species. Practical recommendations for the implementation of this analytical method are given for genetic surveys in tropical trees, where such markers are widely applied.

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