Novel polymorphic microsatellite loci and patterns of pollen-mediated gene flow in an ex situ population of Eurycorymbus cavaleriei (Sapindaceae) as revealed by categorical paternity analysis

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Understanding the patterns of contemporary, pollen-mediated gene flow is of great importance for designing appropriate conservation strategies. In this study, ten novel polymorphic microsatellite loci were isolated for the rare dioecious tree, Eurycorymbus cavaleriei, and the patterns of pollen dispersal were investigated in an ex situ conserved population. A combination of microsatellite markers with high-collective exclusion power (0.932) was used to assign paternity to 240 seeds collected from eight maternal trees. The average effective pollen dispersal distance (δ) was 292.6 m and the frequency distribution of pollen movement suggested extensive pollen movement in the population. The effective pollen donors per maternal tree (Nep) ranged from 5 to 10, and the most isolated maternal trees were observed with the largest number of Nep = 10. Although a trend of near-neighbor mating was found in seven of eight maternal trees, no significant correlations were detected between the average effective pollen dispersal distance (δ) and the geographic distances (d1 and d2) between maternal and male trees. The increased average effective distance of pollen dispersal and number of Nep for isolated maternal trees might be a compound consequence of low density and long-distance flight of pollinators of this species. The conservation implications of these results are discussed.

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