, Volume 143, Issue 1, pp 31–44 | Cite as

Evidences of local adaptation in quantitative traits in Prosopis alba (Leguminosae)

  • C. Bessega
  • C. Pometti
  • M. Ewens
  • B. O. Saidman
  • J. C. Vilardi


Signals of selection on quantitative traits can be detected by the comparison between the genetic differentiation of molecular (neutral) markers and quantitative traits, by multivariate extensions of the same model and by the observation of the additive covariance among relatives. We studied, by three different tests, signals of occurrence of selection in Prosopis alba populations over 15 quantitative traits: three economically important life history traits: height, basal diameter and biomass, 11 leaf morphology traits that may be related with heat-tolerance and physiological responses and spine length that is very important from silvicultural purposes. We analyzed 172 G1-generation trees growing in a common garden belonging to 32 open pollinated families from eight sampling sites in Argentina. The multivariate phenotypes differ significantly among origins, and the highest differentiation corresponded to foliar traits. Molecular genetic markers (SSR) exhibited significant differentiation and allowed us to provide convincing evidence that natural selection is responsible for the patterns of morphological differentiation. The heterogeneous selection over phenotypic traits observed suggested different optima in each population and has important implications for gene resource management. The results suggest that the adaptive significance of traits should be considered together with population provenance in breeding program as a crucial point prior to any selecting program, especially in Prosopis where the first steps are under development.


Adaptation Neutrality test Selection Progeny trials Quantitative genetics 



This research was supported by funding from Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) PIP 11220090100147, Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBACYT 20020130100043BA) and Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica (PICTO-OTNA 2011-0081) granted to JCV and BOS.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Bessega
    • 1
  • C. Pometti
    • 1
  • M. Ewens
    • 2
  • B. O. Saidman
    • 1
  • J. C. Vilardi
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Genética, Departamento de Ecología, Genética y Evolución, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Instituto IEGEBA (CONICET-UBA)Universidad de Buenos AiresBuenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.Estación Experimental Fernández, Departamento de RoblesUniversidad Católica Santiago del Estero (UCSE)Santiago del EsteroArgentina

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