DNA Markers in Forest Genetics

Alfred E. Szmidt and Xiao-Ru Wang

In: Genetic Variation in Forest Tree Populations in Europe, 1992, Müller-Starck, G. and Ziehe, M. (eds), Sauerländer's Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, pp 79-94.

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Human activities cause considerable alterations of forest ecosystems. Better understanding of the genetic processes operating in populations of different species is critical for successful preservation of these ecosystems. Studies of forest tree populations employing DNA markers may provide much new information on this subject. However, successful utilization of these markers strongly depends on proper choice of DNA samples, restriction enzymes and probes. It appears, that most RFLPs detected in previous studies are located outside of coding regions. Utilization of gene specific probes and enzymes that cut coding regions may provide additional information about the variation in sequence composition of individual genes. In addition, application of DNA markers in genetic studies must be preceded by analysis of inheritance of the observed RFLPs. It is recommended that future research employing DNA markers will include analyses of genetic variation across the range of individual species. Continued development of non recombinant, maternally and paternally inherited DNA markers can greatly facilitate studies concerning gene flow within and among populations, species migration and evolution. Furthermore, maps of various regions of individual genomes are necessary for better understanding the gene organization and factors causing genome alterations.

by Alfred E. Szmidt