||Evolution during seed production for ecological restoration? A molecular analysis of 19 species finds only minor genomic changes
||Conrady, M.; Lampei, C.; Bossdorf, O.; Durka, W.
; Bucharova, A.
|Journal / Serie
||Journal of Applied Ecology
||T5 Future Landscapes
||cultivation syndrome; ecosystem restoration; genotyping-by-sequencing; native plants; seed increase; seed orchard; seed provenancing; rapid evolution
- A growing number of restoration projects require large
amounts of seeds. As harvesting natural populations cannot cover the
demand, wild plants are often propagated in large-scale monocultures.
There are concerns that this cultivation process may cause genetic drift
and unintended selection, altering the genetic properties of the
cultivated populations and reducing their genetic diversity. Such
changes could reduce the pre-existing adaptation of restored populations
and limit their adaptability to environmental change.
- We used single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and
a pool-sequencing approach to test for genetic differentiation and
changes in gene diversity during cultivation in 19 wild grassland
species, comparing source populations and up to four consecutive
cultivation generations. We linked the magnitudes of genetic changes to
the species’ breeding systems and seed dormancy to understand the roles
of these traits in genetic change.
- Cultivation changed the genetic composition across
cultivated generations only moderately. The genetic differentiation
resulting from cultivation was much lower than the natural genetic
differentiation between different source regions. The propagated
generations harbored even higher gene diversity than wild-collected
seeds. Genetic change was stronger in self-compatible than
self-incompatible species, probably due to increased outcrossing in
- Synthesis and applications: Our study suggests
that large-scale seed production maintains the genetic integrity of
natural populations. Increased genetic diversity may even indicate
increased adaptive potential of propagated seeds, which would make them
especially suitable for ecological restoration. Yet, it remains to be
tested whether these molecular patterns will be mirrored also by plant
phenotypes. Further, we used seeds from Germany and Austria, where the
seed production is regulated and certified, and we do not know yet
whether other seed production systems perform equally well.
|Conrady, M., Lampei, C., Bossdorf, O., Durka, W., Bucharova, A. (2022):
Evolution during seed production for ecological restoration? A molecular analysis of 19 species finds only minor genomic changes
J. Appl. Ecol. 59 (5), 1383 - 1393