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Title: Molecular markers in conservation genetics : chlorolast DNA variation in natural Scottish Pinus sylvestris L.
Author: Helgason, Thorunn
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1993
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Scottish P. sylvestris populations have been extensively researched, using monoterpene and isozyme markers, but differentiation among populations is too low to identify origins or gene flow. Protocols were developed for the analysis of chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphisms (RFLP) in P. sylvestris to determine whether cpDNA markers could be used for these purposes. Nine populations from throughout the range of pine in Scotland were sampled. Two individuals from each of these populations were surveyed using seven restriction enzymes and 13 probes from P. contorta, a total of 91 probe/enzyme combinations. The cpDNA genome of P. sylvestris was found to be about 119 kilobase pairs in length. 100% of the length of the genome was sampled, and 0.52% of the sequence length. No variation was found in any individual. These results were compared with a survey of P. sylvestris from China, Sweden and Turkey. There is no evidence that the cpDNA genotype of Scottish pine differs in any way from these varieties, suggesting that the cpDNA genome of P. sylvestris is homogeneous over a large part of the species' range. A survey of 191 individuals for 1 probe/enzyme combination revealed one variant individual, which appeared to be heteroplasmic for two cpDNA haplotypes. It was not possible to determine whether this was due to biparental inheritance of somatic mutation within that individual. The implications of these results for further research on the structure and inheritance of cpDNA in gymnosperms, the use of cpDNA as a genetic market in P. sylvestris, and the conservation of Scottish populations of this species are discussed. Finally, it is suggested that an increased collaboration between molecular biologists and ecologists is the best way to approach studies using sophisticated molecular techniques to measure genetic diversity in natural populations. In this way, the potential of this approach to improve the management of genetic resources can be fully realised.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available