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Genetic diversity assessment by random amplified polymorphic DNA of oaks in Israel. 2. Quercus boissieri Reut.

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Not much is known in Israel about Quercus boissieri Reut. because it is only an associated species within the Quercus calliprinos-Pistacia palestine association of the Mediterranean sclerophyllous broad-leaf forests. Q. boissieri is a winter deciduous species that has sort of continental ecological requirements. It belongs to the eastern continental floral elements in Israel, where its occurrence represents the southernmost fringe of its global distribution in the Middle East. The species grows on the Golan Heights, the Galilee, the Carmel Range, and in Samaria and Judea.Analysis of genetic diversity within and the differentiation among 14 populations that are assumed to be natural relicts was done by means of Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA analysis, using 20 primers that produced 32 polymorphic loci. The overall total genetic diversity (Ht) was 0.398, the overall within-population diversity (Hs) was 0.335, and the overall proportion of total diversity stemming from differences between populations (Gst) was 0.162. No relations could be established between the genetic and the geographic parameters.The small genetic distances or the high identity between populations on the one hand, and the lack of aggregations or relatedness to geographic parameters on the other hand, give rise to the hypothesis that all the populations analyzed are remnants of a larger population that existed during the last glaciations. The period of warming since then, the fragmentation of the populations into sites differing in their ecological set-up, and human activity did not give rise to significant genetic differentiation among them.Inference from these results suggests that plantations for acorn production, as propagation material for reforestation, should include the best phenotypes selected from all the relict populations regardless of ecological-geographical boundaries.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Agronomy and Natural Resources, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center


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