Fine-Scale Spatial Genetic Structure in Emmer Wheat and the Role of Population Range Position

Sergei Volis, Minshu Song, Yong Hong Zhang, Irina Shulgina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The extent of spatial genetic structure (SGS) within plant populations depends on seed and pollen dispersal distance, breeding type, level of self-fertilization and effective plant density. Self-fertilizing species with gravity-dispersed seeds are expected to have both small effective population sizes and low pollen movement leading to high genetic structure. Higher SGS can be expected in more patchy and peripheral populations because of lower plant density and population sizes, and lower intensity of gene flow. We tested these predictions analyzing SGS in two core and two peripheral populations of predominantly self-fertilizing emmer wheat. Analysis of SGS with 11 nuclear microsatellites revealed (1) a negative linear relationship between kinship coefficients, calculated for pairs of individuals, and the logarithm of geographical distance between members of the pairs, in all studied populations; and (2) a significant autocorrelation for a distance up to 5 m (core populations) or 20 m (peripheral populations). Pollen flow, estimated from comparison of nuclear and chloroplast variation, was spatially limited, as was seed dispersal. Our results support a hypothesized relationship between SGS intensity and breeding system, the mode of seed dispersal and the population range position (core vs. periphery).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-173
Number of pages8
JournalEvolutionary Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Gene flow
  • Neighborhood size
  • Pollen flow
  • Sp statistics
  • Spatial autocorrelation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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