A comparative analysis between SNPs and SSRs to investigate genetic variation in a juniper species (Juniperus phoenicea ssp. turbinata)

Erwan Guichoux, Arndt Hampe

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Genomic resources are a valuable research tool for understanding and forecasting the response of forest trees to global change and for developing science-based management strategies. Yet, many ecologically relevant tree species still lack such resources. The conifer genus Juniperus contains > 70 species that are widely distributed through the Northern Hemisphere, including several keystone species that form extensive forests in arid landscapes. To date, single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers have not been described for this ecologically important tree genus and the few described simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers result insufficient for performing reliable population demographic inference. Here, we report on the successful development of 19 new SSR and 147 SNP markers for Phoenician juniper (Juniperus phoenicea ssp. turbinata), a species widely distributed along the coasts of the Mediterranean Basin. We calculate a series of population genetic diversity estimates for each set of markers independently and for both sets combined. Our comparison shows that the higher per-locus information content of SSRs makes them the marker of choice for parentage and assignment studies, whereas SNPs provide more reliable demographic inferences (Ne and detection of a recent bottleneck). We also test and confirm the transferability of the new set of SNP markers to the closely related tetraploid species J. thurifera. Finally, we perform an orthology analysis with two gymnosperm model species to search for SNPs linked with functional genes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTree Genetics & Genomes
Issue number87
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2018

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