Indexed on: 24 Oct '06Published on: 24 Oct '06Published in: Genetics
DNA polymorphism at 22 loci was studied in an average of 47 Norway spruce [Picea abies (L.) Karst.] haplotypes sampled in seven populations representative of the natural range. The overall nucleotide variation was limited, being lower than that observed in most plant species so far studied. Linkage disequilibrium was also restricted and did not extend beyond a few hundred base pairs. All populations, with the exception of the Romanian population, could be divided into two main domains, a Baltico-Nordic and an Alpine one. Mean Tajima's D and Fay and Wu's H across loci were both negative, indicating the presence of an excess of both rare and high-frequency-derived variants compared to the expected frequency spectrum in a standard neutral model. Multilocus neutrality tests based on D and H led to the rejection of the standard neutral model and exponential growth in the whole population as well as in the two main domains. On the other hand, in all three cases the data are compatible with a severe bottleneck occurring some hundreds of thousands of years ago. Hence, demographic departures from equilibrium expectations and population structure will have to be accounted for when detecting selection at candidate genes and in association mapping studies, respectively.