Genetical Research

Effects of seed dispersal on spatial genetic structure in populations of Rutidosis leptorrhychoides with different levels of correlated paternity

GUDRUN P.  WELLS  a1 a2 and ANDREW G.  YOUNG  a1 c1
a1 Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, CSIRO Plant Industry, GPO Box 1600, Canberra, ACT 2601 Australia
a2 Department of Botany and Zoology, Australian National University, GPO Box 0220, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia


Rutidosis leptorrynchoides is a perennial forb endemic to grasslands and grassy woodlands in southeastern Australia. Studies of seed dispersal, spatial genetic structure and clonality were carried out in four populations around the Canberra region that varied in levels of correlated paternity to examine: (1) whether R. leptorrhynchoides populations exhibit fine-scale spatial genetic structure and whether this varies between populations as a function of correlated paternity; (2) whether there is a correlation between seed dispersal distance and genetic relatedness within populations; and (3) whether clonal reproduction occurs in this species and to what degree this could account for the observed spatial genetic structure. The results show that there is variation in the magnitude and extent of spatial genetic structure between R. leptorrhynchoides populations. The three larger populations, with low to moderate full-sib proportions, showed significant patterns of coancestry between plants over scales of up to one metre, whereas the smallest population, with a high full-sib proportion, had erratically high but non-significant coancestry values. The observed patterns of genetic clumping could be explained by a combination of limited seed dispersal and correlated mating owing to limited mate availability resulting from the species' sporophytic self-incompatibility system. Clonality does not appear to be an important factor contributing to genetic structure in this species.

(Received September 3 2001)
(Revised December 19 2001)

c1 Corresponding author. Tel: +612 6246 5318. Fax: +612 6246 5000. email: