Small scale analysis of population structure in the woody cornelian cherry <em>Cornus mas</em> L. (Cornaceae) by AFLP accentuates the need for a population based conservation strategy

  • V. Wissemann
  • H. Baumbach
  • S. Müller
  • Y. Venus
  • F. H. Hellwig


We investigated population differentiation among and within three populations (two natural, one artificial) of the cornelian cherry (Cornus mas L., Cornaceae) to examine the extent of gene flow from planted cornelian cherries commonly used in planting vegetations of public parks or streets into natural stands. Additionall we assessed if natural populations show any intrapopulational and/or interpopulational differentiation pointing towards restricted gene flow with possible necessity for a population based conservation strategy rather than a taxon based strategy. Results clearly indicated within and between population structure a radius of isolation by distance for pollen and seed dispersal of about 5.0 km. Interestingly genetic distance did not support coherence of the two natural populations but mirrored the historical origin of the innertown population from diverse natural sources reflecting the traditional use and selection of edible varieties from nature. The Nem value of 1.25 implicates the prevention of population differentation. However the low level of genetic diversity and distance at all might mislead the interpretation and the degree of distance reflects more ancient similarities than actual geneflow. Given this observable isolation by distance, conservation biology of Cornus mas requires a population based strategy rather than a broad taxon based strategy.