Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1111/plb.12716
Title (Primary) Sex ratio rather than population size affects genetic diversity in Antennaria dioica
Author Rosche, C.; Schrieber, K.; Lachmuth, S.; Durka, W. ORCID logo ; Hirsch, H.; Wagner, V.; Schleuning, M.; Hensen, I.
Source Titel Plant Biology
Year 2018
Department BZF; iDiv
Volume 20
Issue 4
Page From 789
Page To 796
Language englisch
Keywords AFLP ; biased sex ratio; dioecy; fragmentation; genetic differentiation; genetic diversity; genetic erosion; small population size
UFZ wide themes RU1;

Habitat fragmentation and small population size can lead to genetic erosion in threatened plant populations. Classical theory implies that dioecy can counteract genetic erosion as it decreases the magnitude of inbreeding and genetic drift due to obligate outcrossing. However, in small populations, sex ratios may be strongly male- or female-biased leading to substantial reductions in effective population size. This may theoretically result in a unimodal relationship between sex ratios and genetic diversity; yet, empirical studies on this relationship are scarce.

Using AFLP-markers, we studied genetic diversity, structure and differentiation in 14 highly fragmented Antennaria dioica populations from the Central European lowlands. Our analyses focussed on the relationship between sex ratio, population size and genetic diversity.

Although most populations were small (mean: 35.5 patches), genetic diversity was moderately high. We found evidence for isolation-by-distance, but overall differentiation of the populations was rather weak. Females dominated 11 populations, which overall resulted in a slightly female-biased sex ratio (61.5%). There was no significant relationship between population size and genetic diversity. The proportion of females was not unimodally but positively linearly related to genetic diversity.

The high genetic diversity and low genetic differentiation suggest that A. dioica has been widely distributed in the Central European lowlands in the past, while fragmentation occurred only in the last decades. Sex ratio has more immediate consequences on genetic diversity than population size. An increasing proportion of females can increase genetic diversity in dioecious plants, probably due to a higher degree of sexual reproduction.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Rosche, C., Schrieber, K., Lachmuth, S., Durka, W., Hirsch, H., Wagner, V., Schleuning, M., Hensen, I. (2018):
Sex ratio rather than population size affects genetic diversity in Antennaria dioica
Plant Biol. 20 (4), 789 - 796 10.1111/plb.12716