Outlier Stands of Quaking Aspen in the Davis Mountains of West Texas: Clone or Clones?
American Journal of Plant Sciences
Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen) is found from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean in the northern United States and Canada, and at higher elevations in the western United States and northern Mexico. While P. tremuloides can reproduce sexually or asexually, it is primarily a clonal species in the intermountain west, reproducing vegetatively via root sprouts, yielding genetically identical stems or ramets. In west Texas, isolated, outlier stands occur in the Guadalupe, Davis, and Chisos Mountains at an elevation of approximately 2300 m. This study utilized seven microsatellites or simple sequence repeats (SSRs) to examine leaf samples from 10 widely separated stems in 10 isolated P. tremuloides individual stands within the Davis Mountains to determine the level of clonal and genetic diversity. We then examined differentiation among stands. Each stem sampled within a stand was genetically identical to all stems examined in that stand or was part of a clone. There were eight genetically identical clones from these ten stands, with three stands being genetically identical or part of the same clone. Many of the genotypes shared several of the same alleles and the remaining alleles were only a few base pairs apart. Some of these alleles have been previously identified in other western North American P. tremuloides stands. Microsatellites identified several triploid patterns consistent with possible aneuploidy, which is concurrent with previous studies.
Nunneley, J., O. Van Auken, and J. Karges. 2014. Outlier Stands of Quaking Aspen in the Davis Mountains of West Texas: Clone or Clones? American Journal of Plant Sciences 5:2298.