Tree Genetics & Genomes

, 15:80 | Cite as

The origin and genetic variability of vegetatively propagated clones identified from old planted trees and plantations of Thujopsis dolabrata var. hondae in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan

  • Torazo IkedaEmail author
  • Kentaro Mishima
  • Katsuhiko Takata
  • Nobuhiro Tomaru
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Germplasm Diversity


Clonal plantations of Thujopsis dolabrata var. hondae have been established in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, since at least the 1800s. Historical planting of the species has led to the development of vegetatively propagated local cultivars, which originated from ‘donor’ trees that have often been conserved in sacred groves or avenues at shrines and temples. These donor trees must have been selected from natural populations. In this study, we estimated the origin and genetic variability of clones identified among old planted trees and clonal plantations of T. dolabrata var. hondae, using 19 microsatellite markers. We discovered 12 clones among old planted trees, including 5 identical to members of a set of 14 we previously identified in plantations (giving 21 clones in total). Based on analyses combining assignment and exclusion tests, we inferred origins of 8 of those 21 clones: 6 may have originated from a natural population distributed in Ishikawa, 1 from Hokkaido and Aomori, and the other from Iwate and Yamagata, suggesting the clones constituting cultivars have multiple origins. The clones identified in plantations have significantly lower genetic variability and higher relatedness, indicating that clones of cultivars have a much narrower genetic base than those of natural populations. We suggest new clones selected from natural populations elsewhere, as well as Ishikawa, are needed for future breeding of T. dolabrata var. hondae to develop clonal forestry for this species.


Assignment test Clonal forestry Genetic diversity Local cultivar Microsatellite Natural population 



We thank Dr. Jiro Kodani, Ms. Tomomi Hashiba, Ms. Noriko Tokuda, Ms. Moeko Kawasaki, Mr. Yo Sengi and other members of Forestry Experiment Station, Ishikawa Agriculture and Forest Research Center, for research support and helpful advice. We also thank Associate Professor Tatsuro Hamada of Ishikawa Prefectural University and Dr. Masako Komaki of Agricultural Experiment Station, Ishikawa Agriculture and Forest Research Center, for technical support.

Compliance with Ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Data archiving statement

The microsatellite genotype data used in this study have been deposited in the Dryad Digital Repository:

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agriculture, Forestry and FisheriesIshikawa Prefectural GovernmentIshikawaJapan
  2. 2.Graduate School of Bioagricultural SciencesNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  3. 3.Forestry Research InstituteHokkaido Research OrganizationBibaiJapan
  4. 4.Forest Tree Breeding Center, Forestry and Forest Products Research InstituteForest Research and Management OrganizationIbarakiJapan
  5. 5.Institute of Wood TechnologyAkita Prefectural UniversityAkitaJapan

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