Genetic Diversity and Population Structure in the Clonal Trillium recurvatum

Kendall Major


Trillium recurvatum is a long-living herbaceous perennial plant found in the central and eastern United States. It is currently threatened in Michigan and rare in Wisconsin. Threats to this plant include: forest management practices, land-use conversion, and habitat fragmentation. Pollen limitation also threatens this plant as the species is self-incompatible so one genetic individual must be pollinated by a different genetic individual. T. recurvatum is clonal, so pollination could be difficult if there are few different genetic individuals in a specific region. My research project aims to explore the genetic diversity of T. recurvatum in the University of Memphis Meeman Biological Field Station. This will provide the first population genetics for Shelby County populations of T. recurvatum. In March 2014, 220 T. recurvatum leaf samples were collected from a population at the University of Memphis Meeman Biological Field Station. The DNA was extracted from these leaves using a commercially available kit, Omega Biotek E.Z.D.N.A Plant DNA Kit, and stored at -80 degrees Celsius. Following that, PCR was performed on all 220 samples for the 10 microsatellite loci. Locus 2,3,4,7,9, and 10 were pooled and run on a capillary electrophoresis at the Molecular Research Core at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center where the instrument can detect one base pair differences. The alleles were recorded using the software package GeneMarker, and the data was analyzed for genetic and clonal diversity using the GenAlEx software. These results were correlated with the demographic data collected by Dr. James Moore and colleagues8. Based on the data analyzed, the genetic diversity of T. recurvatum was higher than expected. 108 unique genotypes were found from 182 plants sampled, which means there is 60% diversity.

8. Moore, J.E., Franklin S.B., Wein, G., Collins, B.S. “Long-term population demography of Trillium recurvatum on loess bluffs in western Tennessee, USA.” AoB PLANTS 2012: pls015; doi:10.1093/aobpla/pls015 2012.


Microsatellite; Demography; Population Genetics; Spatial Structure; Simple Sequence Repeats

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.