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GENETIC DIVERSITY AND POPULATION STRUCTURE OF
PEACH PALM (Bactris gasipaes Kunth) IN AGROFORESTRY
SYSTEMS OF THE PERUVIAN AMAZON
DAVID MICHAEL COLE
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
David Michael Cole
My thesis committee, co-chaired by P.K.R. Nair and Tim White with Rongling Wu,
are acknowledged for both financial assistance during my two years in Gainesville (full-
time assistantship with the School of Forest Resources/IFAS) as well as for priming my
understanding of the fundamentals of population genetics. Funding for field research
during the fall semester of 2003 was provided by the University of Florida's Center for
Latin American Studies, Tropical Conservation and Development Program. In addition,
generous research grants from both the International Palm Society and the South Florida
Palm Society were used to offset expenses accrued during the laboratory portion of the
investigation. Pam and Doug Soltis, along with their lab manager Matt Gitzendanner, are
to be thanked for providing lab facilities and for their invaluable assistance with
mysterious bio-chemical recipes.
Special thanks go to Jonathan Cornelius with the World Agroforestry Centre in
Lima Peru, for his help in securing the initial permits needed to collect genetic material;
to Italo Cardama Vasquez and Sixto Iman with the Instituto Nacional de Investigaci6n
Agraria in Iquitos Peru, for providing the use of their cold storage facilities and
coordinating collection of germplasm from their collection; and to the staff at the
Biodiversity office of Instituto Nacional de Recursos Naturales in Lima Peru, for
hastening their authorization process for a gringo who had run short on time.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iii
LIST OF TABLES ....................................................... ............ .. ............ vi
LIST OF FIGURE S ......... ..................................... ........... vii
A B STR A C T ..................... ................................... ........... ................. viii
1 IN T R O D U C T IO N ............................................................................. .....................
Vulnerability of Genetic Diversity in Peach Palm Agroforestry Systems .................2
Genetic Forces Preserving Diversity within Peach Palm Populations .....................4
M ain O objectives of Study ............................................................................. ..... .4
2 REV IEW OF TH E LITERA TU RE .......................................................... .............5
D om estication Process in Peach Palm .................................. ..................................... 5
Molecular Analyses of Bactris gasipaes Landraces.....................................7
Farm er Selection of Tree Seed .................................. .....................................9
Bora Sw idden-Fallow A groforestry ........................................ ........ ............... 10
M etapopulation Dynamics ............. ....... ... .. ...... ...... ............... 11
Artificial Selection within the Metapopulation ............................................13
Reduced Gene Flow within the M etapopulation............. ................................. 13
Pollen-Based Gene Flow within the Metapopulation.................................13
Migration within the Metapopulation...... ....................... ............14
Population Turnover within the Metapopulation ....................................15
Overlapping Generations and Remnant Trees within the Metapopulation .........17
M icrosatellite M olecular M arkers .................... .............................. 19
The Mechanics of PCR and Microsatellite Markers................................................19
3 M ATERIALS AND M ETHOD S ........................................ ......................... 21
Populations and Sam pling ................................................ .............................. 21
Inform al Farm er Surveys.......................................................... ............... 23
Collection and Extraction of DNA ....................................... ...............24
M icrosatellite M arker Genetic Analysis................................ ....................... 24
M icrosatellite Loci for Bactris gasipaes .................................. ..................24
P C R A m plification ............................................... ........................... .............. 2 5
D N A Sequencing ............................................................... .. ...... 26
Statistical A n aly ses........... ................................................ .......... ..... .... .... 2 7
4 RESULTS AND DISCU SSION ........................................... .......................... 29
Farmers' Seed Selection, Sourcing and Management of Palms.............................29
M molecular M arker R results ..................... .. ........................... ............... .....32
Genetic Diversity and Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium........................................32
Genetic Differentiation ........... .. ......... ........ ............... 34
Isolation-by-D instance ................................................... ..................... .... 36
Discussion ................... ............. ..........................39
Seed Migration within a Metapopulation .....................................................39
Population Structuring and Genetic Differentiation .......................................41
Maintenance of Remnant Trees on the Indigenous Farms .............. ...............42
Comparing Genetic Diversity and Heterozygosity Estimates.............................45
G general D discussion ............. ................. ................... .. ............ 46
Conclusion ................. .............................. ... ............. 47
Epilogue: Participatory Domestication of Peach Palm in Peru ..............................48
A EXACT ORIGINS OF POPULATIONS ANALYZED........................ ...............51
B DNA EXTRACTION PROTOCOL................................................................ 53
S to c k S o lu tio n s ..................................................................................................... 5 4
C PAIRWISE GENETIC DIFFERENTIATION AMONG POPULATIONS AND
TESTS OF SIGNIFICANCE WITH BONFERRONI CORRECTIONS...................56
LIST OF REFEREN CES ........ ......................................................... ............... 58
B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E TCH ..................................................................... ..................67
LIST OF TABLES
3-1 Microsatellite primer pairs used for population genetic analysis of peach palm .....25
4-1 Average age of peach palms sampled from colonist and indigenous
m etapopulations .................... .... .............................. ...... .......... ........ . .. 1
4-2 Microsatellite diversity and heterozygote deficiency in colonist and indigenous
peach palm metapopulations; landraces sampled from El Dorado collection
included for com prison ................................................. .............................. 33
4-3 Weighted allele frequencies at individual loci for colonist and indigenous
m etapopulation study areas. ..... ........................... ......................................35
4-4 Unbiased estimates of Wright F-statistics for colonist/indigenous
metapopulations; landrace populations sampled from El Dorado collection
included for com prison ................................................. .............................. 37
A-i Exact origins of the 221 colonist (Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo) samples .........................51
A-2 Exact origins of the 165 indigenous (Yahuasyacu-Ampiyacu) samples.................. 51
A-3 Exact origins of the 8 populations from 5 landraces sampled from El Dorado
co llectio n ............................................................................. 52
C-1 Pairwise genetic differentiation within colonist metapopulation...........................56
C-2 Pairwise genetic differentiation within indigenous metapopulation.....................56
C-3 Pairwise genetic differentiation of eight populations of five peach palm landraces
sam pled from El D orado collection .............................................. ............... 57
LIST OF FIGURES
2-1. Approximate distribution ofBactris gasipaes landraces in the lowland
N e o tro p ic s .......................................................... ................ .. 6
3-1. Relative locations of two study areas, metapopulations (communities) and farms
sa m p le d ....................................................................... 2 2
4-1. Seed sourcing for peach palms sampled from the colonist and indigenous
m etapopulations. ......................................................................30
4-2. Testing for an isolation-by-distance relationship among farms within each of
the two metapopulations and among populations analyzed from the El Dorado
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
GENETIC DIVERSITY AND POPULATION STRUCTURE OF
PEACH PALM (Bactris gasipaes Kunth) IN AGROFORESTRY
SYSTEMS OF THE PERUVIAN AMAZON
David Michael Cole
Chair: P.K.R. Nair
Cochair: Timothy L. White
Major Department: School of Forest Resources and Conservation
Peach palm (Bactris gasipaes Kunth) is an important component in Peruvian
agroforestry systems, and is cultivated for its fruit and 'heart of palm.' Based on
observations of farming practices in the Peruvian Amazon, the genetic diversity of peach
palm appears to be vulnerable to farmer selection, inbreeding and founder effects in
traditional swidden-fallow agroforestry systems.
This study used microsatellite molecular markers to assess the genetic diversity and
population structure of peach palm in the agroforestry systems of eight riverine
communities in northeastern Peru, comprising two study areas 160 km apart (four
colonist and four indigenous communities per study area). In addition, an analysis of a
peach palm germplasm collection of diverse geographical origin provided a basis of
comparison for estimates of genetic variability and population structuring.
Farmers were surveyed on their seed selection practices for peach palm in swidden-
fallow agroforestry systems. An average of only four maternal parent palms were
reported to have been selected to provide seed for the establishment of the swiddens and
fallows sampled in both study areas. However, seeds of peach palm obtained from
different regions have recently been migrating into populations in the two study areas at
contrasting rates. A metapopulation approach was used to describe migration within and
among regions, implying a hierarchical structure of gene flow which could maintain
relative levels of genetic diversity in peach palm over time- offsetting founder effects
and strong phenotypic selection observed in traditional agroforestry systems.
Seed migration was occurring over larger distances and at a higher frequency in the
indigenous metapopulation, and a proportionally greater number of alleles were found
(with respect to the colonist metapopulation). The indigenous farmers were also
preserving remnant peach palms through successive swidden generations, which may
contribute to the maintenance of alleles within the metapopulation by reducing founder
effects. Population differentiation was reduced in the indigenous study area with respect
to both the colonist metapopulation and the comparison sampling from the peach palm
germplasm collection. In general, all groups of populations sampled had relatively
limited genetic structure, which is believed to result from the inter- and intra-regional
exchange of seeds over long periods of time. Pollen flow, over distances greater than
expected, has probably played a role in reducing population differentiation as well. The
facilitation of long distant seed migration among populations in the recent past is
believed to have attributed to levels of neutral microsatellite diversity observed at
present; thus, the preservation of evolutionary processes which actively create and
maintain general levels of genetic diversity on-farm seems warranted.
Bactris gasipaes Kunth (syn. Guilielma gasipaes Kunth), also known as peach
palm, is well adapted to the nutrient-poor acid soils of the Neotropics. This fully
domesticated palm reaches heights of over 20 m at maturity, and is cultivated as an
upper-story component in agroforestry systems for its starchy, nutritious fruit (Clement
1989). The fruit is consumed after cooking, or processed into a variety of products
depending on variations in texture, flavor, oil and starch content of the fruit mesocarp.
Processed products include fermented beverages, flour for infant formula and baked
goods, cooking oil and animal feed (Clement et al. 2004b). The palm is also managed in
high-density plantations for its meristem, or 'heart of palm,' which was a profitable
international export for both Costa Rica and Ecuador in the recent past (Mora-Urpi and
Echeverria 1999), but which is now suffering from over-production (C.R. Clement,
March 2003, personal communication).
Profits from the sale of peach palm fruit in subsistence-based markets make it one
of the most valuable crops currently grown in the Peruvian Amazon (Weber et al. 1997,
Labarta and Weber 1998). Bactris gasipaes was listed as the number-one priority tree
species for agroforestry research and development in the Peruvian Amazon during the
late 1990s based on farmer-preference surveys conducted by the International Centre for
Research in Agroforestry (Sotelo-Montes and Weber 1997).
Vulnerability of Genetic Diversity in Peach Palm Agroforestry Systems
Biodiversity is defined as the sum total of all biotic variation, including all flora
and fauna species from the scale of an ecosystem down to that of individual genes and
alleles (Purvis and Hector 2000). Genetic diversity within a species is thus at the lowest
hierarchy of biodiversity- which enhances, not diminishes, its importance. Without
genetic diversity, a plant population loses its ability to adapt to its environment and
evolve with changing climates or cultural systems. Such concerns are vitally important
for a multipurpose tree like peach palm.
It has been estimated that Bactris gasipaes has been in the process of domestication
for the past 10,000 years (Clement 1988, 1992). Based on observations of farmer
practices in the Peruvian Amazon, the genetic diversity of peach palm appears to be
vulnerable to farmer selection and founder effects in traditional swidden-fallow
agroforestry systems. Swidden-fallow agroforestry, or shifting agriculture, has been the
main mode of peach palm cultivation in post-contact Amazonia (Patifio 1963). These
agroforestry systems contain spatial, genetic and cultural factors that have the potential to
diminish the palm's diversity and alter its genetic architecture (Clement 1988). Over
time, the combined forces of genetic drift, selection and inbreeding in the context of
domestication decrease genetic diversity in those traits being selected and increase
divergence among populations if selection is differential.
The reproductive biology of Bactris gasipaes is an important factor when
considering its population genetic distribution, as pollen gene flow is believed to be
limited and local. Anthesis of male and female flowers is not normally synchronous
within a given palm, thus selfing occurs very rarely (Listabarth 1996). The principal
pollinators of Bactris gasipaes in the Peruvian Amazon, beetles of the genus Phyllotrox
(Curculionidae) and Epurea (Nitidulidae), have a flight range believed to be only 150 to
200 m between palms (Mora-Urpi and Solis 1980, Mora-Urpi 1982, Listabarth 1996),
and the pollen has a relatively short viability period of 1 to 2 days (Miranda and Clement
1990). A molecular marker investigation using progeny arrays within a completely
genotyped isolated population is currently underway, which will help to determine a
more accurate pollen-dispersal distance for this species (C.R. Clement, June 2004,
personal communication). Patterns of seed dispersal produced by forest wildlife (e.g.
avian predators in the Psittacidae family) have not been investigated, but the dispersal
distance is thought to be limited.
If the scattered isolation of peach palm populations in the forest inhibits pollen-
mediated gene flow, the relatively small size of the swidden-fallow clearings (1 to 3
hectares on average) would also limit the breeding population sizes of this allogamous
palm (Clement 1988). When preparing to plant a new swidden, farmers tend to choose
seed for the next generation of palms from a small selection of preferred individuals from
a base population that is limited in number to begin with. Few farmers realized that
genetic quality might decline through repeated selection of only the best trees (Weber et
al. 1997). Thus, a loss of within-population heterozygosity is expected to occur with
each founding event (Nei et al. 1975, Maruyama and Fuerst 1985), with particular impact
on the elimination of rare recessive alleles and those not favored by selection. Since
there is a high likelihood that half or full sibs will be planted together in groups (Clement
1988), in subsequent generations inbreeding or sib-mating occurs; increasing the
frequency of homozygous genotypes at the expense of the heterozygous genotypes which
can lead to inbreeding depression (Hartl 2000).
Genetic Forces Preserving Diversity within Peach Palm Populations
Farmers sometimes collect seed from palms on neighboring farms, and select
desirable palm fruits in the local markets to obtain seed for planting (Weber et al. 1997).
This results in migration of genetic material among neighboring or even distant
populations, and may counteract genetic drift, selection and inbreeding, which work to
reduce genetic variation within populations and increase divergence among them. Thus,
migration could produce sufficient gene flow to restore relative levels of genetic
diversity, through a process that resembles interaction within a metapopulation- loosely
defined as a population of interacting subpopulations (Hanski 1999). This phenomenon
was discussed by Louette (2000) in terms of the management of Mexican maize (Zea
mays spp. mays) landraces. Recent genetic analysis of peach palm growing in the
Yurimaguas region of Peru found moderate to high levels of genetic diversity with low
population differentiation, lending support to the theory that seed exchange is countering
the genetic divergence and fixation of populations (Adin et al. 2004).
Main Objectives of Study
We do not know to what extent farmer seed selection, seed sourcing and
management of agroforestry systems in general lead to a reduction or maintenance of
genetic diversity in peach palm; yet, this knowledge is fundamental in any effort to
preserve crop genetic resources in situ. This study employs microsatellite molecular
markers to examine the genetic diversity and population structuring of peach palm
cultivated in swidden-fallow agroforestry systems of the northeastern Peruvian Amazon.
An exploration of the interplay between farmer seed selection and seed migration
(interaction within and among metapopulations) was the underlying thread of this
investigation, which compared the agroforestry management practices of two study areas.
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
Domestication Process in Peach Palm
It has been estimated that Bactris gasipaes has been in the process of domestication
for the past 10,000 years (Clement 1988, 1992). The species has historically been
cultivated from central Bolivia to northeastern Honduras and from the mouth of the
Amazon River to the Pacific coast of Ecuador and Columbia (Mora-Urpi and Clement
1988). The analysis of Rodrigues et al. (2004a) suggested two migration routes out of a
possible source area in southwestern Amazonia where the purported wild progenitor
Bactris gasipaes var. chichagu is found (Henderson 2000). The first route is to the
northeast, in the direction of eastern Amazonia; the second is to the northwest, in the
direction of western Amazonia, eventually crossing the Andes to reach Central America.
The lack of consistent preferences driving traditional in situ breeding for fruit and stem
characteristics, coupled with extensive germplasm exchanges (seed migration), has
served to maintain a wide range of variation in Bactris gasipaes (Clement 1988).
Mora-Urpi and Clement (1988) have morphologically characterized and mapped a
complex landrace pattern divided into oriental and occidental subcomplexes, based
principally on vegetative differences as well as a 3-tier hierarchy to discriminate
landraces by the weight of their fruit:
Microcarpa: 10 to 30 g per fruit
Mesocarpa: 30 to 70 g per fruit
Macrocarpa: 70 to 250 g per fruit
Rodrigues et al. (2004a) further clarified these landrace classifications with molecular
genetic analyses (2-1).
Figure 2-1. Approximate distribution of Bactris gasipaes landraces in the lowland
Neotropics (light shading indicates general distribution of species). A)
Microcarpa landraces 4. Tembe, 5. Jurua, 6. Para. B) Mesocarpa landraces -
1. Rama, 2. Utilis, 3. Cauca, 7. Pampa Hermosa, 8. Tigre, 9. Pastaza, 10.
Inirida. C) Macrocarpa landraces 11. Putumayo, 12. Vaupes.
Source: Rodrigues D.P. 2001. Analise das morfo-racas primitivas de pupunha
(Bactris gasipaes Kunth) mantidas no banco ativo de germoplasma de
pupunha com marcadores moleculares RAPDs. Master's Thesis, Universidade
de Brasilia, Brasilia.
The size and starchiness of the fruit reflect the degree of modification that occurred
during the course of domestication of Bactris gasipaes from its wild progenitor, B.
gasipaes var. chichagu (Clement 1988, Rodrigues et al. 2004a). Macrocarpa fruits are
extremely starchy and dry, which helps to account for their large increase in size relative
to the smaller, oilier fruits ofmicrocarpa Bactris gasipaes and B. gasipaes var. chichagu
(Clement 1992). Other expected attributes of domestication found in macrocarpa include
an increased pulp-to-fruit ratio (97% in macrocarpa vs. 85% in microcarpa), increased
bunch weight (8 kg in macrocarpa vs. 3 kg in microcarpa), an increased fruit to bunch
ratio (95% in macrocarpa vs. 90% in microcarpa) and an increased frequency of spineless
leaves and trunks (Clement and Mora-Urpi 1988a).
These modifications in Bactris gasipaes illustrate that a repetitive, continual
process of artificial selection (domestication) has the capacity to extend the phenotypic
extremes occurring in a plant well beyond the range of variation found in its natural
progenitors (Hartl 2000). At the same time a general loss of heterozygosity, and the
associated genetic variation often occurs during the domestication of any species as a
direct result of selecting for these phenotypic extremes (Doebley 1989). A reduction in
the frequencies of those alleles not favored by selection should only occur at loci
affecting selected traits (Hartl 2000).
Molecular Analyses of Bactris gasipaes Landraces
The first molecular analysis ofBactris gasipaes on any significant scale used
isozymes (Clement 1995). Isozyme analyses observe allelic variation at isozyme loci
using electrophoretic techniques (Weeden and Wendel 1989). The bands in the gels
represent the protein products of specific alleles, usually at loci involved in intermediary
metabolism (Newberry and Ford-Lloyd 1997). Clement (1995) analyzed 270 plants from
nine progenies of the Putumayo 'macrocarpa' landrace variety, sampled from the
germplasm collection of Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amaz6nia (INPA) in Manaus,
Brazil (established as a result of the 1983-84 USAID expeditions, which collected seed of
Bactris gasipaes from farms throughout the geographical range of the palm). He found
an extremely low mean heterozygosity and moderate to high inbreeding coefficients,
evidently due to recent selection for spinelessness in the palm. He then went on to infer
that the experimental collection sampled was established using a limited genetic base to
begin with (Clement 1995).
In 1997, Clement et al. examined isozyme variation in three spineless populations
of Bactris gasipaes (361 plants) maintained in INPA's germplasm collection, and
identified the apical meristem of a lateral shoot for optimal extraction of enzymes (and
subsequently, DNA). The low mean heterozygosity in the results obtained was attributed
to the management history (apparent inbreeding) of the germplasm, prior to its collection
in the experimental population sampled (Clement et al. 1997).
The first molecular analysis of DNA from Bactris gasipaes was carried out in 2001
by Sousa et al. using RAPD (Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA) markers, followed
by an AFLP (Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism) marker analysis by Clement et
al. in 2002. RAPD and AFLP techniques use arbitrary primers with PCR (polymerase
chain reaction), resulting in DNA fragments that are then separated on agarose gels.
Genetic diversity in RAPD and AFLP data is visualized on the gels as the presence or
absence of band fragments resulting from sequence differences in primer binding sites
(Karp et al. 1997, Hartl 2000). Genetic difference between any two plants is indicated by
the dissimilarity of their banding patterns (Karp et al. 1997). In these two studies, which
both used germplasm obtained from INPA's collection, the marker analysis revealed that
populations which were morphologically determined to represent three separate landrace
types by Mora-Urpi and Clement (1988) corresponded to only two genetically
differentiated landraces (Sousa et al. 2001, Clement et al. 2002, Rodrigues et al. 2004a.
Rodrigues et al. (2004a) confirmed this same revision of landrace differentiation
using a RAPD analysis of seven landraces from INPA's collection, and also went on to
estimate the partitioning of genetic diversity among the different landraces sampled as
15% among landraces and 85% within them, suggesting that the different landraces are
closely related. These values are similar to those estimated for other allogamous plant
species in the tropics (Bawa 1992). However, it remained to be determined how the 85%
gets distributed throughout the various populations that constitute a given landrace of
Mora-Urpi et al. (1997) hypothesized that most of the genetic variation within a
landrace may occur among numerous small sub-populations due to genetic drift and
differential selection, and that within these sub-populations there may be relatively low
diversity due to founder effects and selection. Recently, genetic analysis of Pampa
Hermosa landrace populations using AFLP markers has suggested otherwise, finding low
genetic differentiation among populations with relatively high levels of genetic diversity
within them (Adin et al. 2004). When population genetic structure is established using
molecular methods, the extent to which population subdivision and inbreeding influence
patterns of variability within and between populations can be inferred (Loveless and
Farmer Selection of Tree Seed
In Peru, some farmers discriminate peach palm varieties by the color of the fruit
mesocarp, for the qualitative traits of the fruit associated with each color. For instance,
fruits with a red waxy coat are said to be higher in oil than are fruits with a yellow (or
red) non-waxy coat (Weber et al. 2001). If farmers who prefer the palm as a source of
starch are only planting out seed from yellow non-waxy fruit, their selection might be
dramatically eroding diversity at loci influencing this trait (especially as yellow fruits
occur less frequently than red).
Brodie et al. (1997) surveyed farmers in two separate regions of the Peruvian
Amazon in an investigation of the origins of fruit and timber tree germplasm on-farm.
They found that 87% of the fruit trees were planted from seed the farmer had personally
selected. Sixty percent of these seeds were selected from on-farm germplasm and the rest
were obtained from off-farm sources in the near vicinity. Lengkeek (2003) conducted
similar surveys amongst farmers in Kenya and found that an influx of germplasm from a
distant source occurred only rarely for both indigenous and non-indigenous tree species.
Brodie et al. (1997) reported that the farmers' selection criteria focused on the size,
sweetness, texture, taste and seed characteristics rather than on overall yield of the tree.
Since the sources of germplasm for the first generation of trees were primarily local, with
presumably low levels of diversity, this study concluded that the farms were at risk of
experiencing reduced yields (via inbreeding depression) and pest or pathogen outbreaks
as a result of the narrow genetic base of their trees. They also concluded that farmers'
perceptions are short-term and that they generally do not appreciate the value of variation
in the tree species they cultivate. Few farmers realized that genetic quality might decline
through repeated selection of only the best trees (Weber et al. 1997, Lengkeek 2003).
Bora Swidden-Fallow Agroforestry
A swidden is an agricultural field that is cleared from out of the forest, usually by
hand with axes, saws and fire, and then planted for one or a few years with nutrient
demanding crops before being left fallow for a period of time (Conklin 1957). The
indigenous Bora farmers living near Pebas Peru have been reported to manage their
swiddens and fallows by protecting useful vegetation, both spontaneously occurring and
intentionally planted, from the encroachment of the surrounding forest. A substantial
proportion of the useful vegetation occurring in a given fallow was not necessarily
planted by the farmer in the previous swidden (Denevan and Treacy 1987).
Bactris gasipaes was listed by Denevan and Treacy (1987) as a "planted or
protected perennial species" in the Bora swiddens and fallows, and recent field research
in 2002 and 2003 corroborates this claim. A large proportion of the palms sampled for
the current study were claimed to be over 50 years old, originally planted in previous
generations of swiddens. These palms re-sprout and maintain production over the years
as a result of the farmers' systematic clearing of the same land again and again.
Ten to twenty years was reported to be the minimum length of fallowing used by
the farmers (Denevan and Treacy 1987). If left to compete with the rapid regeneration of
secondary forest vegetation, Bactris gasipaes perishes from a lack of photosynthetic
activity after about 20 years (Clement 1990). The palm was present in Denevan and
Treacy's (1987) sampling of a 19-year old fallow, albeit at a lower density compared to
the younger fallows sampled.
Many populations of plant species are subdivided into local breeding units, a
situation which has the potential to lead to the genetic differentiation among these units
through differential selection and drift. Theories of population structuring often contrast
the trend toward differentiation with the rate of gene flow among sub-populations
(Slatkin 1985, Hartl 2000). The exchange of genes in plants takes place through direct
migration via seed dispersal or flow of pollen. This movement of genetic material plays
an influential role in determining the spatial scale of observed genetic differentiation in
populations (Slatkin 1985).
Gene flow in the context of metapopulation dynamics is a useful way to model the
effects of seed dispersal, or migration, in the genetic structuring of Bactris gasipaes
populations. The term metapopulation was originally coined to describe a population of
populations- a higher hierarchical level of the population concept (Levins 1970). While
populations are defined as assemblages of interacting individuals each with its own finite
lifetime, metapopulations are assemblages of interacting populations with distinct finite
lifetimes, or expected time to population extinction (Hanski and Glipin 1991). In this
manner an assemblage of populations can persist for a much longer period of time than
the lifetime of any one individual population. The 'classical' metapopulation concept
described by Levins is strictly associated with the dynamics of population turnover,
involving both the extinction and recolonization or establishment of new sub-populations.
Subsequently, the use of the metapopulation concept has broadened to include any
assemblage of populations in which genes are exchanged among discrete sub-populations
through migration or dispersal (Hanski 1998).
A metapopulation landscape is conceptualized as a network of idealized habitat
patches or fragments, surrounded by uniformly unsuitable habitat, in which species are
distributed in discrete local populations linked through dispersal among them (Hanski
1998). In this thesis, the concept of a metapopulation landscape will be extended to
describe the population structure of the domesticated tree crop peach palm, which is
unable to indefinitely survive outside of managed agricultural environments (Clement
1990) and whose sub-populations turnover at irregular intervals. In this case, the
subpopulation turnover is caused by the swidden-fallow cycle of rainforest farming, in
which areas of fallowed land are intermittently cleared and replanted over and over.
Migration occurs when a new tree crop is planted after clearing the forest fallow and new
seeds are brought in from distinct sub-populations. This will inherently involve a degree
of artificial selection taking place during population 'founder events'.
Artificial Selection within the Metapopulation
The role of artificial selection in the process of diverging sub-populations is
obvious, as any calculation of changes in gene frequency in a population due to selection
will show (e.g. Falconer 1996, pp.30). When population size is > 15-30 individuals, the
role of random genetic drift in diverging sub-populations can largely be ignored relative
to selection (Hartl 2000). Strong selection regimes are important for the maintenance of
genetic variation in a metapopulation when gene flow among sub-populations is irregular
and unequal in reciprocal directions (Jain and Bradshaw 1966).
Reduced Gene Flow within the Metapopulation
The theoretical models of Sewall Wright (1943, 1946) show that strong gene flow
between sub-populations relative to selection pressures would homogenize the set of sub-
populations, while the complete absence of gene flow would allow the sub-populations to
exhibit the deleterious effects of inbreeding. A reduced level of gene flow between
partially isolated populations is necessary for the long-term persistence of genetic
variability (Wright 1946, Nagylaki 1976, Zhivotovsky and Feldman 1992). Slatkin
(1981) simulated the efficiency of selection in a subdivided population with migration
between populations and found that the time to fixation through genetic drift always
increased with decreasing migration between populations to a minimum.
Pollen-Based Gene Flow within the Metapopulation
It is generally assumed that for out-crossing species, pollen-based gene flow will
have a greater impact on population differentiation or homogenization than will gene
flow by seed dispersal; yet, it is often difficult to distinguish between the effects of each
(Levin and Kerster 1974, Ennos 1994). Individual sub-populations within a
metapopulation often receive pollen from several neighboring sub-populations, and even
if the levels of gene flow are limited from each source, they are additive, so their sum has
the potential to have considerable impact on genetic structure (Levin 1981).
Pollen dispersal is likely to be taking place to varying degrees even among
populations that appear to be completely isolated by distance from one another; this
would be particularly true for tree species with taller statures and longer life spans
(Hamrick and Godt 1996). According to Hamrick and Nason (2000), pollen flow can
often be quite extensive at distances as great as one kilometer for most temperate and
tropical species. Gaiotto et al. (2003) found pollination distances of up to 22 km for
another Amazonian heart of palm species (Euterpe edulis), when the main pollinator was
previously thought to be a bee with a relatively limited flight distance. Since the actual
pollination dispersal distance is unknown for Bactris gasipaes, we cannot underestimate
the role pollen flow might play in the dynamic nature of peach palm metapopulations.
Migration within the Metapopulation
Varvio et al. (1986) modeled the effects of migration among sub-populations and
found that the values of total population heterozygosity and measures of subpopulation
differentiation depend not only on migration rates but also on the subdivision pattern, and
on the interaction between the two factors. Li (1976) showed that the effect of an
individual's migration between two sub-populations is smaller when the number of sub-
populations increases. The larger n is within a subpopulation, the greater the genetic
composition of the immigrants diverges from that of nonimmigrant individuals (Varvio et
al. 1986). Therefore, smaller sized sub-populations with higher rates of migration lose
differentiation among sub-populations more rapidly. Levin (1988) concluded that a
variable migration rate homogenizes neutral allele frequencies less effectively than does a
uniform rate of migration with the same mean.
Another factor to consider is that if individuals from a given population immigrate
into a nearby subpopulation, their gene frequencies would differ less from the target
subpopulation than would immigrants originating from farther away. This violates a
commonly used model of population structure, the stepping stone model of Kimura
(1953) in which only adjacent populations exchange migrants. Kin-structured migration,
in which individuals disperse amidst their relatives, will similarly disrupt the assumptions
of this model (Levin 1988).
Population Turnover within the Metapopulation
The recurrent turnover of populations is a chronic disturbance capable of keeping a
metapopulation from obtaining the theoretical equilibrium between drift and gene flow
(Wright 1931). Slatkin (1977) modeled this effect assuming that for an assemblage of
interacting populations, a proportion e of populations go extinct at random each
generation and are immediately replaced by an equal number of new populations, each
founded by k individuals. The populations then immediately grow to a constant size N,
denoted in Wright's Nm. Wade and McCauley (1988) found that the relative number of
founders (k) to the number of migrants exchanged among populations (Nm) plays a
substantial role in determining the effects of extinction-recolonization cycles. These
models also assume that fitness of the colonizing and pre-existent individuals in a
population are more or less equal. Of course, a more likely metapopulation structure is
one in which the extinction rate depends upon the size of individual sub-populations,
which most certainly are not of a constant, equivalent size, yet this classical model is still
a useful starting point from which to assess the associated genetic implications.
Pannell and Charlesworth (1999, 2000) state that population turnover in a
metapopulation will decrease genetic diversity both within populations and in the total
metapopulation measured as a whole. Gilpin (1991) purports that in a metapopulation
with both gene flow into existing populations and extinction-recolonization from adjacent
populations, genetic variation will be depleted at a rate close to the population half-life of
the large local populations in the system. Yet Gilpin's calculations do not account for the
effects of recolonization from discrete and non-adjacent sub-populations, which is
sometimes the case with peach palm. In addition, with peach palm the founders (k)
sometimes originate from well outside the metapopulation (another region altogether
Slatkin (1977) contrasts two modes of colony formation, an important
consideration when evaluating the consequences of these repeated colonization
bottlenecks. The 'migrant pool' mode is when a colonizing group represents a mix of
genotypes drawn from the metapopulation at large. Variation among new populations is
derived from the binomial sampling of the genetic variation contained within the entire
metapopulation, and is proportional to 12k. At the other extreme, the propagulee pool'
mode of colony formation, each set of genotypes involved in founding a new population
is drawn from just one possible source population (Slatkin 1977). Whitlock and
McCauley (1990) illustrated an intermediate mode between 'migrant' and propagulee
pool.' They introduced the term 0 as the probability that two gene copies present in the
founding group are drawn from the same source population, such that o of zero equals the
'migrant pool', 0 of one the propagulee pool', and 1>o>0 cases that are intermediate
between the two extremes (Whitlock and McCauley 1990). With propagulee pool'
colonization, extinction-recolonization increases genetic differentiation and erodes
genetic variation (under most conditions) much more intensely than occurs with 'migrant
pool' colonization (McCauley 1991, 1993).
However, these models will not adequately describe cases in which founding
events occur successively in the absence of extinctions (Le Corre and Kremer 1998). In
such cases, the cumulative effects of founding events depends as much on the
counterbalancing action of gene flow, i.e. the number of migrants (Nm) exchanged
among existing populations, as it does on the strength of each founding event, i.e. the
number of colonists founding new populations. It is also affected by the relative
contributions of populations of different ages constituting both the migrant and colonist
pools of individuals, with the cumulative effect having the most impact when colonists
arrive only from recently founded populations and migrants originate strictly from
populations of similar ages (Le Corre and Kremer 1998).
Overlapping Generations and Remnant Trees within the Metapopulation
Overlapping generations slow the rate of loss through genetic drift (Hamrick and
Nason 1996). The effect of generational overlap is amplified by the longevity of tree
species and the maintenance of remnant individuals from previous generations, which
reduces the effects of bottlenecking. In addition, the occurrence and the associated
implications of inbreeding in a population (i.e. increase in homozygosity) are postponed
(Johnson 1977, Choy and Weir 1978). The relevance of this 'storage effect' (Chesson
1985, Seger and Brockman 1987) for the maintenance of genetic variation is that the
recessive alleles of heterozygotes are preserved in long-lived individuals, where hidden
variation may reside and flow into more recently founded populations over multiple
generations of fluctuating selection (Hairston et al. 1996).
Long-lived woody perennial species have a higher proportion of polymorphic loci,
more alleles per locus and more genetic diversity than other vegetative life forms.
Hamrick et al. (1992) reviewed the studies published over a 20 years period reporting
allozyme variation for woody plant species with different life history characteristics.
They found that the mean genetic diversity for long-lived woody perennial species is
55% higher than that of short-lived woody species, 42% greater than of herbaceous
perennials and 15% higher than of annual species (Hamrick et al. 1992). In addition,
long-lived woody perennials have more genetic diversity within their populations as
well- 38% higher than annuals and 51% to 80% higher than short-lived herbaceous and
woody species (Hamrick et al. 1992). These higher rates of genetic diversity within
individuals and populations may partially be due to the fact that long-lived out-crossing
tree species generally have a higher potential to be receptors for long-range gene flow
(Nybom and Bartish 2000), which they then incorporate into the local gene pool of
multiple, overlapping generations.
Austerlitz et al. (2000) also conclude that the effects of founder events can be
substantially reduced when the specific life cycle of tree species is taken into account,
even under conditions of limited gene flow. However, they emphasize that this is not due
to the overlapping generations of trees as much as to their delayed reproduction, which
allows for an increase in the number of founders of the breeding population before
reproduction actually begins (Austerlitz et al. 2000). The effective size of a population
bottleneck is often estimated using only the genetic diversity contained in the initial
colonists of a given area. These estimates will be biased low because they do not include
the cumulative effects of successive founding events in the colonization of new habitat
(see Easteal 1985, Baker and Moeed 1987).
Microsatellite Molecular Markers
Microsatellites are currently the predominant marker system for population genetic
analysis (Newbury and Ford-Lloyd 1997, Goldstein and Schotterer 1999). Data acquired
from microsatellite markers is much more informative than data obtained from either a
RAPD or AFLP analysis. Microsatellite primers are designed to amplify specific targets
in the genome through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) by flanking the targeted
sequence (Karp et al. 1997). These targets are core repeating sequences of two to nine
base pairs which vary in the number of repeats occurring between plants- this variation
serves as the measurement for genetic diversity by coding for discrete alleles at a given
locus (Karp et al. 1997, Karp 2002). Microsatellites are co dominant markers, which is a
major advantage over RAPD markers because heterozygous and homozygous genotypes
can be distinguished. This allows direct calculation of all genotype and allele frequencies
without the assumption of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium
The Mechanics of PCR and Microsatellite Markers
Amplification of targeted sequences is carried out through polymerase chain
reaction (PCR) technology in a thermocycler. This involves a series of automated
temperature changes that unravel the DNA, and then the microsatellite primers are
combined with the enzyme Taq polymerase to isolate and amplify the specific sequences
we want to analyze for their variability (Sobral and Honeycutt 1994). The PCR product
obtained from each DNA sample-primer pair combination is then run through an
automated gene sequencer for analysis.
Genetic polymorphisms are visualized in the sequence data as differences in the
length of PCR products, representing the subtraction or addition of simple sequence
repeat units within each sample. Since microsatellites are multi-allelic and co dominant,
each allele yields a distinct allele peak in the data output; genotypes that are heterozygous
yield two allele peaks (identified within an expected allele size range), those genotypes
that are homozygous yield only one allele peak (Karp et al. 1997, Karp 2002).
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Populations and Sampling
Leaf material for DNA extraction was collected from Bactris gasipaes grown in
four sub-populations (agricultural communities) from each of two river drainages in the
Peruvian Amazon. Both drainages fall within the geographical territory of the
'Putumayo' peach palm landrace (Rodrigues 2001). The Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Rivers
both join the Amazon River near Tamshiyacu, Peru (40 km southeast of Iquitos) (Figure
3-1A, Table A-i). The Yahuasyacu-Ampiyacu Rivers both join the Amazon River at
Pebas, Peru (120 km northeast of the city of Iquitos) (Figure 3-1B, Table A-2). Ten
farms (farmers) were sampled in each of the two river systems (metapopulations), two or
three farms per community or population. Between 24 and 81 palms were sampled from
each community- 221 palms from the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo communities and 165
palms from the Yahuasyacu-Ampiyacu communities, for a total of 386 plant samples.
An average of 22.1 (between 14 and 30) DNA samples were collected from Tamshiyacu-
Tahuayo farms and an average of 16.5 (between 5 and 34) DNA samples from
Communities within each of the two study areas were separated between five and
twenty-five km apart. Given that the flight range of the pollinators is believed to be a
maximum of only 150 to 200 m (Mora-Urpi and Solis 1980, Mora-Urpi 1982), the
probability of long distance pollen flow occurring between any two communities is very
Figure 3-1. Relative locations of two study areas, metapopulations (communities) and
farms sampled. A) Colonist and B) indigenous metapopulations. C) Eight
populations of 5 peach palm landraces sampled from El Dorado collection.
Numbers 1-10 on maps A and B indicate location of farms sampled and
numbers 171-334 on map C indicate source location for germplasm sampled
from El Dorado collection.
.-- 9 ..
sewn .* .
B o I ig
S- "' j- j"^
The Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo study area is inhabited by people whose ancestors are a
mix of both recent immigrants as well as those indigenous to the region, who for the most
part do not affiliate themselves with any one particular ethnicity. The Yahuasyacu-
Ampiyacu study area lies within the boundaries of an indigenous federation of Huitoto,
Bora, Yahua and Ocaina peoples, Federaci6n de Comunidades Nativas del Ampiyacu
(FECONA). Therefore, the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo communities, farmers and palms will
hereafter be referred to as 'colonist' and the Yahuasyacu-Ampiyacu communities,
farmers and palms 'indigenous.'
These labels, 'colonist' and 'indigenous,' are for the purpose of identification only.
This study does not intend to imply that there is anything intrinsically better about the
indigenous nature of a particular style of agroforestry management. In fact, both the
colonist and indigenous styles of management observed were remarkably similar.
In addition to the samples collected from the colonist and indigenous communities,
a control comparison of 37 samples was collected from the Bactris gasipaes germplasm
reservoir maintained by Instituto Nacional de Investigaci6n Agraria (INIA) at their El
Dorado station located near Iquitos. These individuals were collected during the 1983-84
USAID expeditions from eight populations of five peach palm landraces in Peru, Ecuador
and Colombia (Figure 3-1C, Table A-3), and will provide a baseline of a broader genetic
sampling against which to compare the results obtained from the two study areas.
Informal Farmer Surveys
Before collecting DNA tissue of peach palm, each farmer was informally surveyed
to determine their seed selection criteria (preferred palm and fruit types) and the average
number of maternal parent palms used to establish swidden-fallow agroforestry systems.
When collecting DNA tissue with these farmers, the recollected origin of the seed (which
grew into the palms sampled) and the approximate age of all palms (whose tissue was
sampled) were recorded. Sampled palms perceived by a farmer to have been planted
during a pre-existing cycle were identified, to infer the degree of generational overlap
taking place on a given farm.
Collection and Extraction of DNA
The DNA was collected as 8 cm leaf cuttings from lateral shoots, for ease and
efficacy of extraction according to previously documented experience (Clement et al.
1997, Rodrigues 2001). When lateral shoots were not present, juvenile leaf tissue was
used. Each sample was placed in a separate paper envelope and zip lock bag with silica
gel desiccant in an airtight container, and the samples were then periodically transferred
into cold storage (4 to 80C) at the facilities at INIA, San Roque (Iquitos), during the
duration of fieldwork. Upon returning to the Soltis Molecular Systematics Lab on the
University of Florida campus, genomic DNA extraction followed a standard CTAB
(Cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide) procedure (Doyle and Doyle 1987) with minor
revisions (Appendix B). DNA quantification was carried out by comparison with known
concentrations of a DNA standard (X-Hind III) in ethidium bromide-stained 2% agarose
Microsatellite Marker Genetic Analysis
Microsatellite Loci for Bactris gasipaes
Ten microsatellite markers have recently been isolated, optimized and characterized
for Bactris gasipaes at Universidade Federal do Amazonas in Manaus, Brazil (Rodrigues
et al. 2004b) in addition to a different set of 18 markers previously developed at the
Biotechnology Research Unit of Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) in
Bogota, Colombia (Martinez et al. 2002). At first, six of these microsatellite marker loci
were chosen to genotype all individuals sampled. Three of these markers were labeled
with blue florescent dye, and three with green, at the five-prime end of the forward
primer. This allowed multiplexing of multiple marker loci during sequencing by
distinguishing loci and alleles in the data output whose size ranges overlapped one
another. In the end, only three of these marker pairs could be used due to inconsistent
PCR (polymerase-chain reaction) products for the three additional loci originally chosen
Table 3-1. Microsatellite primer pairs used for population genetic analysis of peach palm
Locus Primer sequence (5'-3') Repeat motif size range product
Bg02-19 F: GCGTTCAGACTTGCATACACA (CT)23(CA)6 149-205 bp 182 bp
Bg02-24 F: AAACCTGATCCGATTGGCTA (GA)17 119-155 bp 135 bp
Bg55 F: TTCTGGGTGCGGTGGTAG (GT)2GC(GT)3GC(GT)5 281-306 bp 278 bp
Isolation and characterization of Bg02-19 and Bg02-24 described in: Rodrigues D.P.,
Vinson C., Ciampi A.Y., Farias I.P., Lemes M.R., Astolfi-Filho S. and Clement C.R.
2004. Ten new microsatellite markers for Bactris gasipaes Kunth (Palmae). Mol. Ecol.
Notes, in press; Bg55 described in: Martinez A.K., Gaitan-Solis E., Duque M.C., Bemal
R. and Tohme J. 2002. Microsatellite loci in Bactris gasipaes (Arecaceae): their isolation
and characterization. Mol. Ecol. Notes 2, 408-410.
Separate PCR amplifications were performed for each of the three primer pairs, for
each of the 423 DNA samples (a total of 1,269 reactions), in a 25.0 iL volume containing
(prepared in order listed): 1 [iM each of forward and reverse primers, IX PCR Buffer
(Promega), 2.5 mM MgC12, 250 mM dNTPs, 1 unit Taq polymerase (Promega), 2.5 [L
1:50 DNA dilution was then added.
PCR amplifications of Bg02-19 and Bg02-24 loci were performed separately for
each DNA sample-primer pair combination using a Biometra T3 thermocycler with the
following conditions: initial denaturation at 940C for 2 min; 25 cycles of 94C for 10 s,
the primer specific annealing temperature (580C for Bg02-19 and 64C for Bg02-24) for
10 s, 72C for 30 s; 10 cycles of 94C for 10 s, 50C for 10 s, 72C for 30 s; ending with
72C for 30 min. PCR amplification of Bg55 locus was performed separately for each
DNA sample-primer pair combination on the Biometra T3 with the following conditions:
initial denaturation at 940C for 3 min; 35 cycles of 94C for 15 s, the primer specific
annealing temperature (50C for Bg55) for 15 s, 72C for 15 s; ending with 720C for 5
min. These conditions were optimized by Rodrigues et al. (2004b) and Martinez et al.
(2002) to minimize stutter banding (PCR artifacts that could be misidentified as actual
alleles) in the sequence results.
For each of the three DNA sample-primer pair combinations, 2.0 [iL of PCR
product was added to 25.0 [tL SLS sequence buffer + 0.5 [tL 400 base pair size standard.
This 3-primer pair multiplex was then visualized on a Beckman-Coulter CEQ 8000
automated capillary sequencer, one lane for each DNA sample. Allele sizes were
estimated using the CEQ 8000 version 7.0 software, and then visually inspected taking
into consideration the expected allele size in base pairs for each of the three loci and the
original DNA clones from which the microsatellite loci were developed. Stutter bands
were identified distinct from the actual alleles, to correct any errors made when the
software called and sized the alleles.
To estimate genetic diversity, the following measures were calculated for all
populations using Microsatellite Analyser MSA v. 3.15 (Dieringer and Schlotter 2003):
expected (He) and observed (Ho) heterozygosity per locus and the number of alleles and
allele frequency distribution per locus. These populations were tested for departure from
Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, performed with GENEPOP v. 3.4 (updated from Raymond
and Rousset 1995) using the U-test for a hypothesis of heterozygote deficiency; exact P
values were determined by a Markov chain method (Guo and Thompson 1992).
The extent and significance of the genetic differentiation among populations was
also investigated with MSA, which provided unbiased estimates of Wright F-statistics
(Weir and Cockerham 1984) at each locus, and averaged over multiple loci. Estimates
were obtained for the following parameters: F, the overall inbreeding coefficient or the
correlation of allele frequencies within individuals in different populations;f the within
population inbreeding coefficient or the correlation of allele frequencies among
individuals within populations; and 0, an estimator of Wright's fixation index Fst,
measuring the correlation of allele frequencies between individuals within populations,
calculated over all populations and for each pairwise population comparison (Cockerham
1969, Weir and Cockerham 1984). Statistical significance ofF, fand 0 was tested by
bootstrapping over loci with a 95% confidence interval. To test the significance of
pairwise 0-values, MSA permuted genotypes among groups with Bonferroni corrections
(Dieringer and Schlotter 2003).
Isolation by Distance version 1.52 (Bohonok 2002) was used to test for the
presence of an isolation-by-distance relationship using the pairwise 0-values, as was
demonstrated by Rousset (1997). Significance in the isolation-by-distance relationship
was tested using a Mantel test. This test assesses whether the pairwise genetic distance
matrix is correlated with the pairwise geographic distance matrix.
Reduced Major Axis (RMA) regression techniques were then used to estimate the
slope and intercept of the isolation-by-distance relationship. Reduced Major Axis (RMA)
regression is more appropriate than Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression when the
independent variable x is measured with error (Sokal and Rohlf 1981). Error in the
independent variable leads to biased estimates of slope. Hellberg (1994) specifically
suggested that for analysis of isolation-by-distance, RMA is a more appropriate estimator
of slope than OLS.
SAS (SAS Institute) was used to characterize multilocus genotypic associations
within each population overall and among 2 and 3 loci within each population (Yang
2000, 2002). These genotypic zygoticc) associations were defined on the basis of
gametic and allelic frequencies (Yang 2002).
Most contemporary studies using microsatellite loci report Rst (p), an estimator of
genetic differentiation accounting for variance in allele size and defined for genetic
markers (like microsatellites) undergoing a stepwise mutation model (Slatkin, 1995).
Since there is no way to be certain that mutation in any species follows a strict stepwise
mutation model, Rst has limitations to its use (Slatkin 1995, Balloux et al. 2000). In
addition, Balloux and Goudet (2002) report that when populations are very weakly
structured with high rates of gene flow, Weir and Cockerham's Fst (1984), provides a
more accurate estimator than Slatkin's Rst (1995). Therefore, this study relied solely on
F-statistics for an analysis of population structure.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Farmers' Seed Selection, Sourcing and Management of Palms
Within the two metapopulation study areas there was a strong tendency among both
groups of farmers to limit the number of founding individuals per population. The
average number of maternal parent palms reported to have been selected to provide seed
for the establishment of the swiddens and fallows sampled was 4.3 (range 1 to 10) palms
among the 10 colonist farmers, and 1.5 (range 1 to 2) palms among the 10 indigenous
farmers. In addition, 19 % of all palms sampled from both study areas (N= 386 palms)
grew in swiddens and fallows established by a given farmer using only one maternal
parent palm as a seed source. As a point of comparison, Brown and Marshall (1995)
recommend using a minimum of 50 maternal parents to minimize founder effects when
establishing a new population. Therefore, the practices of these farmers could potentially
lead to founder effects, genetic bottlenecks and drift.
The dynamic movement of peach palm seed and the distances over which it had
taken place in the recent past appeared to be an important variable between the two
metapopulation study areas (Figure 4-1). Within the colonist metapopulation, fifty-one
percent of peach palms sampled (113 out of 221 palms) grew from seed selected from a
farmers' own swidden or fallow, and an additional 20% (44 out of 221 palms) grew from
seed selected from an immediate neighbor (within the same community). Fifteen percent
of the sampled palms (33 out of 221 palms) grew from seed that had originated from one
O Seed sourced from farmers' own swidden or fallow
8 .. .- -.. o Seed sourced by farmer, in neighbors' swidden or fallow
20% O Direct descendants of palms from pre-existing fallow of
51% O Seed sourced by farmer, in swidden/fallow 1-2 hours
walking distance away
A Direct descendants of the seed sourced 1-2 hours
walking distance away
O Seed sourced from farmers' own swidden or fallow
13% .. Seed sourced by farmer, in neighbors' swidden or fallow
2H Seed which originated from 120 km and 600 km away
M Direct descendants of seed brought during tribes' (1937)
B migration from Colombia (250 km away)
Figure 4-1. Seed sourcing for peach palms sampled from the colonist and indigenous
metapopulations. A) 221 colonist palms. B) 165 indigenous palms. All palm
seed for a given planting event was reportedly obtained from only one single
source location at a time.
to two hours walking distance away, and an additional 6% (13 out of 221 palms) were
direct descendants (progeny) of that 15% (Figure 4-1A).
In sharp contrast, within the indigenous metapopulation the scale of the movement
of genetic material was much larger; thirteen percent of the palms sampled (21 out of 165
palms) grew from seed that had originated from 120 to 600 km away (Figure 4-1B). Of
these 21 palms, two were spineless whose seed had originated in Iquitos, 120 km upriver.
An additional 19 palms were sampled which were found growing in the context of a
Peruvian governmental program (Fondo Nacional de Compensacion y Desarrollo Social)
to promote spineless heart of palm cultivation in the area using peach palm seed
originating from the Yurimaguas region, almost 600 km upriver from the communities.
In addition, within the indigenous metapopulation 33% of the palms sampled (55
out of 165 palms) were said to be descendants of seed originating from the homeland of
the grandparents and parents of the farmers, 250 km to the north in the Putumayo region
of Colombia (Figure 4-1B). These people fled in 1937 with their families (along with
seeds and cuttings of their traditional crops) to their present location in Peru to escape the
lingering slave trade that had decimated the region's tribes at that time. The average age
of these 55 palms sampled was 33.3 (range 3 to 50+) years.
A comparison of the average age of all palms sampled from the two
metapopulation study areas exhibits a divergence in their age distribution (Table 4-1).
Twenty-eight percent of all palms sampled (47 out of 165 palms) from indigenous farms
were attributed to planting events 30 to 50 years earlier, compared to only 1% of all
palms sampled (3 out of 221 palms) from previous (unknown) planting events observed
and sampled on colonist farms. Most of the colonist farmers claimed that the production
of peach palm fruit deteriorates in fallow over time (as discussed in Clement 1990), so
they made little effort to maintain (protect) older remnant palms from previous
Table 4-1. Average age of peach palms sampled from colonist and indigenous
Ten colonist farms Ten indigenous farms
Number of palms sampled 221 palms 165 palms
6.0 years 19.2 years
Average age of all palms sampled 6.0 years 19.2 years
(range <1-17 years) (range <1-50+ years)
generations once the palms had been overcome by forest re-growth. These farmers
preferred to simply plant a new generation of palms, if possible. Thus, palms managed
by the colonist farmers rarely survived through the fallow period until the next swidden
clearing cycle. While this may have been a factor somewhat enthusiastically over-
exaggerated by the indigenous farmers surveyed, a strong divisional trend in management
practices is apparent over all twenty farms sampled.
Molecular Marker Results
Genetic Diversity and Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium
The three microsatellite marker loci carried 49 alleles in the indigenous
metapopulation (n = 165), while only 43 alleles were found in the colonist
metapopulation (n = 221). The frequency of observed heterozygosity averaged over loci
was somewhat higher in the indigenous metapopulation as well (Table 4-2). Expected
heterozygosities throughout both metapopulations were generally higher than observed
heterozygosities at individual loci, with one minor exception where a landrace population
consisted of only two individuals (Table 4-2). Of the 19 tests of conformity to Hardy-
Weinberg proportions, 12 groups of populations showed a significant deficiency of
heterozygotes at the 0.01% level, and 3 groups were deficient at the 1% and 5% levels
(Table 4-2). This is also apparent in the values obtained for the inbreeding coefficient
an estimator measuring the effects of nonrandom mating within populations on a scale of
-1, indicating an excess of heterozygotes, to 1, indicating an excess of homozygotes,
relative to proportions expected in a Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium population.
Within the two metapopulation study areas, observed heterozygosities in the
colonist communities ranged from 0.639 to 0.698, while those of the indigenous
Table 4-2. Microsatellite diversity and heterozygote deficiency in colonist and
indigenous peach palm metapopulations; landraces sampled from El Dorado
collection included for comparison.
# of # of alleles per locus Heterozygosity
N pops. Bg02-19 Bg02-24 Bg55 Expected Observed f
Communities 221 4 21 14 8 0.833 0.678 0.194***
Nuevo Tarapaca 42 3 17 7 7 0.823 0.698 0.156***
San Carlos 81 3 15 13 8 0.806 0.639 0.210***
Nuevo Triunfo 60 2 15 11 8 0.824 0.684 0.171***
Nuevo San Juan 38 2 13 11 7 0.847 0.697 0.191***
Communities 165 4 22 16 11 0.806 0.693 0.152***
Brillo Nuevo 55 3 15 13 5 0.758 0.664 0.121**
Puerto Isango 24 2 13 9 6 0.826 0.741 0.107*
Pucaurquillo 58 3 21 14 10 0.802 0.625 0.207***
Sa. Lucia de Pro 28 2 14 12 7 0.792 0.708 0.105**
Landraces 37 5 17 14 7 0.766 0.713 0.155***
Putumayo 7 1 9 7 6 0.869 0.746 n.a.
Pampa Hermosa 7 2 7 7 5 0.848 0.833 0.024
Pastaza 6 2 7 6 3 0.793 0.667 0.09
Tigre 15 2 11 8 6 0.809 0.619 0.248***
Vaup6s 2 1 2 2 3 0.5 0.667 n.a.
Each metapopulation analyzed among communities and farms (populations) pooled
within communities; sampling from El Dorado germplasm collection analyzed among
geographical landraces and populations of origin pooled within landraces. Expected (He)
and observed (Ho) heterozygosities averaged over all three loci. The unbiased measure of
inbreedingf(Weir and Cockerham 1984) considers the effects of nonrandom mating
within populations (averaged over loci). Significant heterozygote deficiency over all
loci, relative to Hardy-Weinberg expectations at: *P<0.05, **P<0.01, ***P<0.0001.
communities ranged from 0.625 to 0.741 (Table 4-2). As a point of comparison, the 37
individuals of 5 different landraces sampled from the El Dorado germplasm collection
revealed similar numbers of alleles per locus, and a larger observed heterozygosity
(0.713) than was estimated for either of the two metapopulation study areas (Table 4-2).
Private alleles in the context of this study are alleles found only in one of the two
study metapopulations; all of the other alleles totaled in Table 4-2 were shared between
them. There were more than twice as many private alleles, occurring at a higher average
weighted frequency in the indigenous metapopulation than in the colonist. However, in
general these private alleles were rare in both metapopulations, all occurring at
frequencies of 0.028 or less (Table 4-3).
Testing for a genotypic association among all three loci within the two
metapopulations and the El Dorado populations found no significant association using
chi-square (P values 0.12 and higher). However, within the colonist metapopulation
there was a significant association (at the 0.01% level) between loci Bg02-19 and Bg02-
In an analysis of the genotypes observed at marker loci, genetic differentiation
estimated among colonist farms was low (Ft= 0.03) yet significantly different from zero
(P<0.0001) (Table 4-4). The genetic differentiation estimated among indigenous farms
was even lower (Ft= 0.017), yet still significant (P<0.001). Genetic differentiation
among the eight El Dorado populations of five landraces (Vaupes, Pampa Hermosa,
Pastaza, Putumayo and Tigre) appeared greater (Ft = 0.05), revealing more moderate
levels of significant (P<0.01) population differentiation consistent with the relatively
larger geographical scale of this particular sampling (Table 4-4). Analyzing the farms in
Table 4-3. Weighted allele frequencies at individual loci for colonist and indigenous metapopulation study areas.
alleles unique to one or the other metapopulation study areas, are shown in bold.
Colonist Metapopulation: N= 221 Indigenous Metapopulation: N = 165
Bg02-19 Freq. Bg02-24 Freq. Bg55 Freq. Bg02-19 Freq. Bg02-24 Freq. Bg55 Freq.
152 0.002 128 0.002 282 0.061 152 0.028 114 0.003 282 0.006
154 0.236 130 0.009 286 0.207 154 0.15 130 0.012 284 0.019
156 0.037 132 0.064 288 0.293 156 0.034 132 0.037 286 0.18
158 0.002 134 0.025 290 0.039 160 0.003 134 0.019 288 0.559
162 0.062 136 0.169 296 0.011 162 0.097 136 0.118 290 0.009
164 0.122 138 0.139 300 0.098 164 0.038 138 0.199 294 0.003
166 0.002 140 0.112 302 0.075 166 0.019 140 0.115 296 0.006
168 0.005 142 0.059 304 0.216 170 0.006 142 0.115 298 0.003
170 0.03 144 0.071 172 0.103 144 0.118 300 0.087
172 0.073 146 0.014 174 0.006 146 0.019 302 0.028
174 0.011 148 0.002 176 0.019 148 0.009 304 0.099
176 0.034 150 0.041 178 0.053 150 0.025
178 0.14 152 0.014 180 0.028 152 0.006
182 0.007 158 0.279 182 0.034 154 0.009
184 0.014 184 0.094 156 0.012
186 0.039 186 0.088 158 0.183
188 0.057 188 0.022
190 0.05 190 0.122
192 0.048 192 0.047
194 0.025 198 0.003
198 0.002 200 0.003
Two private alleles, allele 200 at Bg02-19 (indigenous) and allele 128 at Bg02-24 (colonist), were also found in the El Dorado
populations at low weighted frequencies (0.014 and 0.029 respectively).
the two metapopulation study areas as two discrete panmictic populations, the genetic
differentiation between them was estimated as Fst = 0.027, which is low but still
significant (P<0.0001) for these two groups of farms located approximately 160 km apart.
Pairwise estimates of Fst (Weir and Cockerham 1984) were plotted against the
geographical distance between populations, performed separately for each of the two
metapopulation study areas. Genetic material was assumed to travel linearly along the
trails and rivers to obtain estimates of geographical distance. The absence of a
statistically significant isolation-by-distance relationship up to 27 km distance in the
indigenous metapopulation further stresses low population genetic differentiation (Figure
4-2A). Accordingly, the values of pairwise estimators were low for the indigenous
populations, and only 4% of these were significant (P<0.05) (Table C-2).
In contrast, the colonist farms exhibited a significant (P<0.01) isolation-by-distance
relationship up to 35 km distance (Figure 4-2A). The pairwise values obtained for the
colonist populations were generally higher than those obtained for the indigenous
populations, and a higher percentage of these values (29%) were significant at the 1%
and 5% levels (Table C-1).
The values of pairwise population genetic differentiation among the 8 El Dorado
populations of 5 landraces were higher than those of either of the two metapopulations.
These populations illustrated a significant (P<0.01) isolation-by-distance relationship up
to 1250 km, calculated as the shortest linear distances along rivers, which in a few cases
included trails connecting watersheds (Figure 4-2B). However, none of these pairwise Fst
values were significant (P<0.01) when testing for population differentiation, probably due
to the small population sizes analyzed (Table C-3).
Table 4-4. Unbiased estimates of Wright F-statistics for colonist/indigenous metapopulations; landrace populations sampled from El
Dorado collection included for comparison.
F-statistics at individual loci
El Dorado populations
El Dorado landraces
Colonist vs. Indigenous
Colonist vs. Indigenous
vs. El Dorado
Colonist and Indigenous
vs. El Dorado
0 F f 0 F f
over all loci
0.202 0.181 0.026 0.127 0.088 0.042 0.308 0.292 0.023 0.211 0.186 0.03***
0.204 0.189 0.019 0.129 0.108 0.023 0.312 0.291 0.03 0.213 0.194 0.024***
0.151 0.129 0.024 0.19 0.181 0.01 0.136 0.121 0.016 0.161 0.146 0.017**
0.152 0.14 0.014 0.191 0.184 0.009 0.138 0.125 0.014 0.162 0.152 0.012**
0.283 0.266 0.024 0.05 -0.02 0.066 0.243 0.195 0.059 0.192 0.15 0.05*
0.284 0.272 0.017 0.061 -0.02 0.08 0.247 0.206 0.052 0.197 0.155 0.05*
0.195 0.178 0.02 0.159 0.151 0.009 0.286 0.244 0.056 0.21
0.203 0.187 0.019 0.149 0.146 0.009 0.279 0.243 0.049 0.208 0.188 0.025***
0.204 0.195 0.02 0.149 0.146 0.003 0.275 0.262 0.017 0.207 0.198 0.011*
Weir and Cockerham's (1984) unbiased estimates of Wright F-statistics defined as follows: F = total heterozygote deficiency (overall
inbreeding coefficient),f= deficiency within individuals within populations (inbreeding coefficient) and 0 = deficiency among
populations (an estimate of fixation index or Wright's Fst). Each metapopulation analyzed among farms and among farms pooled
within communities; El Dorado germplasm analyzed among populations of origin and among populations pooled within geographical
landraces. Estimates of F-statistics also calculated between groups of populations (colonist, indigenous, El Dorado). Significant
population differentiation at: *P<0.01, **P<0.001, ***P<0.0001.
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
Geographic Distance (km)
400 600 800 1000
Geographic Distance (km)
Figure 4-2. Testing for an isolation-by-distance relationship among farms within each of
the two metapopulations and among populations analyzed from the El Dorado
collection. A) Correlation between unbiased estimates of pairwise population
genetic differentiation [Fst (0) over all loci] and geographic distance, R2
0.1948 and Mantel test of correlation, P<0.0029 for colonist populations; R2
0.0301 and P<0.0896 for indigenous populations. B) Correlation, R2 = 0.3346
and Mantel test, P<0.009 for El Dorado populations.
The high inbreeding coefficients (f) calculated for both metapopulations (Table 4-
2) are the result of recurrent sib-mating occurring over many generations, as inbreeding
coefficients measure the probability that two alleles are identical by descent (Hartl 2000).
Clement et al. (1997) and Clement (1995) both reported similar levels of inbreeding in
populations of Bactris gasipaes. This kind of selection is the very essence of crop
domestication, necessary to amplify the specific traits one prefers in a given species
(Doebley 1989), yet ideally there should be a balancing factor in the agroecosystem to
allow for a continuation of the crop's evolution. This balance appears to be facilitated in
part by the migration of genetic material with and among metapopulations.
Seed Migration within a Metapopulation
The migration of seed has the potential to introduce 'new' alleles into a population,
thereby increasing its genetic diversity and slowing the rate of divergence within the
metapopulation. Additional migration across time via the descendants of introduced seed
is taking place among 6% (13 palms) and 33% (55 palms) of the total palms sampled
from the colonist and indigenous study areas respectively (Figure 4-1). These palms
might still carry alleles introduced into the population by their immigrant ancestors, and
could contribute to their continued maintenance. Yet the impact that the immigration of
genetic material has on a metapopulation will primarily depend upon the scale of distance
from which it originated, as a comparison of isolation-by-distance relationships in
Figures 4-2A and 4-2B reveals.
Migration within a peach palm metapopulation occurs among a group of
populations in both the immediate (neighbor's swidden) and close vicinity (1 to 2 hours
away), as well when seed is brought in from another distant metapopulation (120 to 600
km away) (Figure 4-1). In other words, the boundaries of seemingly localized
metapopulations are in fact permeable, open to immigration from outside. At a greater
scale, the swiddens and fallows comprising entire regions of Peru, Ecuador and Colombia
would theoretically form one massive peach palm metapopulation, connected by the
historic flow of seed over large distances. Rodrigues et al. (2004a) use the genetic
relationships among landraces to discuss the possible migration of peach palm seeds
throughout South America and up through Honduras out of a single source area of
domestication, previously proposed for southwestern Amazonia (Huber 1904, Ferreira
1999). As illustrated in this study and elsewhere, a certain degree of seed migration
continues even today at a similarly extensive scale, particularly concerning genetic
material of the spineless Pampa Hermosa landrace from the Yurimaguas region of Peru
(Figure 4-1B) (Adin et al. 2004).
Although the seed for planting a new swidden generation was always obtained
from just one source population (Figure 4-1), and sometimes comprised groups of half-
sib individuals originating from only one maternal parent, each farm sampled within a
given community is assumed to be an interacting unit of a metapopulation (i.e. colonist
community) within a larger group of metapopulations (i.e. colonist metapopulation study
area). This is due to the relative proximity of neighboring farms (between 250 and 500 m
apart; see Figure 3-1), which are potentially interchanging genetic material via long-
distant pollen-mediated flow within the community metapopulation. And as previously
discussed, farmers are also directly exchanging genetic material among neighbors, and
presumably between communities. Therefore a given source of seed is a mix of
genotypes drawn from the metapopulation at large, and the migration of seed resembles
the 'migrant pool' mode of gene immigration (Slatkin 1977).
Population Structuring and Genetic Differentiation
One direct consequence of migration within a metapopulation, particularly via the
'migrant pool' mode, is that population genetic differentiation is substantially reduced. A
comparison of the overall Fst estimates for colonist and indigenous farms (Table 4-4) has
little meaning, however these estimates are both consistent with high rates of gene flow
among populations, i.e. exchange of genetic material among farmers along the course of
the two river systems over a long period of time. Indeed, in Figure 4-1 there appears to
be comparably high rates of exchange among neighboring farmers in both of the two
study areas. Adin et al. (2004) came to similar conclusions regarding Gst estimates
obtained for two riverine groups of peach palm populations from the Yurimaguas region
of Peru, which were similarly low (Gst is an equivalent estimator of the parameter Fst
which considers the ratio of inter-population genetic variation to the total variation).
Pairwise population differentiation was higher in the colonist metapopulation than
in the indigenous (Table C-l and C-2), and there exists a statistically significant isolation-
by-distance relationship among them (Figure 4-2A) thus there is some indication that
the structure of the colonist metapopulation is more defined than the indigenous. The
high incidence of seed migration into the indigenous metapopulation (Figure 4-1B) might
be causing this discrepancy, as genetic divergence among sub-populations would be
reduced if immigrant seeds were a pool of genotypes from the larger (regional)
The overall Fst estimate obtained among the eight El Dorado populations of five
landraces (Fst = 0.05, P<0.01; Table 4-4) was somewhat lower than the among population
differentiation estimated for regional-scale samplings of other allogamous plant species
in the tropics (typically between 0.10 and 0.15; Bawa 1992, Hamrick et al. 1992).
However, it was still substantially higher than the population differentiation estimated for
the two metapopulation study areas. Therefore, as distances increased between
populations the gene flow among them was less. For instance, Rodrigues et al. (2004a)
analyzed 220 peach palms from a much larger geographical selection of six landraces,
representing close to the entire range of the species (from Central America through Peru
to the mouth of the Amazon in Brazil), and estimated genetic differentiation among
populations as Gst = 0.16.
It is interesting to note that the lowest Fst estimate overall was obtained in a
grouping analysis between the two metapopulation study areas (Group 1) and the El
Dorado populations (Group 2) (Fst= 0.011, P<0.01) (Table 4-4). The low genetic
differentiation between the study areas when considered as two discrete panmictic
populations is relevant here as well (Fst= 0.027, P<0.001). Mora-Urpi and Clement
(1988) proposed that populations near Iquitos and Pebas might represent heterogeneous
mixtures of Putumayo, Pampa Hermosa, Pastaza and Tigre landraces, among others.
This is because the region is at the crossroads of several major river systems, which
would have facilitated the exchange of different landraces over long periods of time; the
results presented here would seem to support their hypothesis.
Maintenance of Remnant Trees on the Indigenous Farms
As competition for light and nutrients increases, older palms in fallow do not
produce the fruit yields of younger palms in swidden clearings (Clement 1990). Yet in
northwest Amazonian indigenous cultures, remnant peach palms provide a sense of
generational continuity and play an important role in revisiting memories of the people
(often direct ancestors) who planted them. This symbolic association with peach palm
has been reported by anthropologists (e.g. Chaumeil 2001, Erickson 2001 and Rival
2002) as being broadly shared by at least five specific tribes of the northwest Amazon.
One of these ethnographies (Chaumeil 2001) took place in the same indigenous
communities sampled for this population genetic analysis of peach palm.
It is more a matter of custom with the indigenous than with the colonist farmers
surveyed, regardless of the utilitarian value of the remnant palms. Yet this is not to
generalize that only indigenous Amazonians would find the preservation of remnant
palms worthwhile; if other groups of indigenous and non-indigenous farmers were
sampled perhaps the results would have been different.
The maintenance of remnant palms from previous generations of swiddens may be
helping to preserve genetic diversity within the indigenous metapopulation, by reducing
founder effects and loss of alleles. Since changes in the genetic composition of a
population require a generational turnover, maintaining remnant palms from previous
swidden generations would potentially lessen the negative consequences of founder
effects. In addition, these remnant palms are quite possibly an important cohesive factor
in metapopulations; for instance, Chase et al. (1996) found that isolated trees could act as
stepping stones, facilitating gene flow among larger populations. Intermittently
throughout the secondary forest and fallows sampled, peach palms from previous
swidden generations extended up through the canopy (z 2 to 3 palms per hectare) in
search of light in the midst of encroaching vegetation.
The indigenous farmers of the particular area under investigation have been
reported to clear and reuse the same plot of land after fallowing periods lasting 20 years
(Denevan and Treacy 1987). Given the current shortage of land available to each family,
these farmers are very rarely able to wait any longer for fallowed land to 'replenish' itself
(Manuel Nibeco, October 2003, personal communication). This period of time is short
enough to prevent the complete extinction of peach palms planted during previously
cultivated swiddens (Clement 1990), especially considering that during the first five years
these swidden-fallows are managed by the farmers for the long term growth of the fruit
trees in the weeding out of competing secondary vegetation (Denevan and Treacy 1987).
Some of the farmers claimed that they clear the vegetation around their palms when
harvesting fruit; more or less every year throughout the entire fallowing period.
In addition, management of the common Amazonian agroforestry intercrop manioc
(Manihot esculenta) and peach palm differed in a slight yet significant manner between
the indigenous and colonist farmers. Indigenous farmers in the northwest Amazon are
known to predominately cultivate highly toxic manioc varieties (McKey and Beckerman
1993), and the farmers indicated they were used to produce their traditional bread. They
also claimed that these varieties mature relatively slowly, preserving well in the soil for 5
years or more. On the other hand, the colonist farmers all grew a non-cyanogenous
variety of manioc (to be eaten boiled, unprocessed), which produces yields in less than
three years. The soil would then be exhausted for root crop cultivation and management
of the entire swidden would taper off into fallow. Thus the choice of manioc varieties
determines the amount of years a swidden will be regularly cleared of undesirable
secondary vegetation, which relates to the amount of time peach palm will accumulate
biomass in an open environment- the extra years conferring an advantage for the palms
once the fallow period begins.
The older palms that persist in indigenous fallows are spared during subsequent
forest clearings and survive the burning of slash to sprout up from their bases (a trait
characteristic of Bactris gasipaes); fueled by the nutrient flush they soon are producing
fruit again. Thus the supportive effect of generational overlap on the maintenance of
genetic variability and structure within peach palm populations is facilitated by the
longevity of highly managed palms.
Comparing Genetic Diversity and Heterozygosity Estimates
Considering the historical-ecological context of the two study locations, observed
heterozygosity and levels of genetic variability (Tables 4-2 and 4-3) provide a broad
evaluation of the effects of migration and the preservation of remnant individuals in
maintaining diversity in peach palm. It is important to note that the 165 indigenous
palms represent a sample size that is 25% less than that of the 221 colonist palms, yet
there were still more alleles per locus observed in the indigenous metapopulation (Table
4-2). The additional private alleles in Table 4-3 might have been obtained (introduced)
through the increased rates of seed immigration from afar (Figure 4-1), although
extensive sampling in source areas would be needed in order to prove this. Yet alleles
are extremely sensitive to population bottlenecks; therefore, the preservation of remnant
individuals might be playing a role in maintaining these private alleles, albeit at
extremely low frequencies.
Evidence (or the lack thereof) of genotypic disequilibrium is important in making
inferences about the history of a population and the evolutionary forces governing allele
frequencies at these loci. In this case, a lack of strong evidence for genotypic
associations within the peach palm populations sampled corresponds with the fact that
migration among peach palm populations is occurring among gene pools that are
somewhat closely related, as we would expect strong zygotic associations if this were not
the case (Barton and Gale 1993).
The allelic components of peach palm's diversity, such as those sampled from the
farms surveyed for this study, fluctuate over time. Through the migration of genetic
material, farmers seem to be managing general levels of diversity within a
metapopulational matrix, more than they are managing individual genes in isolation
(Louette 2000). This study offers insight into developing strategies to preserve the
evolutionary processes that actively create and maintain general levels of genetic
diversity on-farm. If participatory domestication projects are able to preserve the actual
genes underlying the more useful phenotypes (like the ongoing program with peach palm
in Peru; see Weber et al. 2001), then it is important that there is a degree of movement of
this 'improved' genetic material within and between regions to maintain general levels of
'useful' diversity. The problem then lies in preventing the frequency of these targeted
genes from becoming excessively diluted on-farm and within the metapopulation over the
It is difficult to generalize about farmer behavior and assume that this kind of
genetic migration (crucial to the metapopulation's dynamics) is taking place often
enough, throughout the entire geographical distribution of peach palm, to prevent a
degree of genetic erosion in the species as a whole. In Peru, the flow of peach palm seed
is highly decentralized and sporadic, oftentimes dependent solely upon individual
farmers' perceptions about the use and value of specific palm types. And since both the
number of populations and their sizes are never held perfectly constant, the effects of
migration within and among metapopulations are likely to be highly variable and site-
specific. Therefore, formal institutionalized support is needed to develop a network
capable of guiding an appropriate degree of exchange of genetic material. It is believed
that in developing markets for improved peach palm seed, this exchange will be
facilitated (Clement et al. 2004a). Yet it would be helpful to monitor changes in
measures of genetic diversity in recipient populations over time, to gauge an appropriate
scale for this migration to take place on a case-by-case basis.
Finally, it is important to keep in mind when reviewing any study of tropical crop
genetic resources, whose centers of diversity are often located in lesser-developed regions
of the world, that they are often managed in the context of immediate subsistence
irrespective of long-term genetic consequences. Subsistence farmers tend to do what
they need to feed their families in the short run. In the context of genetic resources this
often translates into making a conscious decision to use limited time and resources to
cultivate only the most productive and appealing varieties of a given crop at the expense
of all others, thereby eroding the underlying genetic diversity. While it is true that even
in the darkest reaches of Amazonian backwaters one might find an occasional crop
connoisseur growing a wide variety of types, he or she will always be the exception.
Based on the molecular results presented, and the contrasting management of palm
germplasm observed between the two groups of farmers, what conclusions can
realistically be made? The palm populations sampled have a long evolutionary history,
which is not addressed when asking farmers about recent management of the genetic
resource. Nonetheless, the amount of neutral genetic variation and heterozygosity
observed in both the indigenous and colonist metapopulations was high.
These relatively high levels of diversity were not expected, considering the seed
selection practices of the farmers and the high inbreeding within both metapopulations.
Although these particular microsatellite loci are only representative of neutral genetic
variation, founder effects and selection in the 10,000 year process of peach palm
domestication are expected to have reduced overall allelic diversity. Yet these neutral
marker loci are extremely sensitive to gene flow (migration). These results suggest long-
distance seed migration events in the relatively recent past have attributed to the genetic
variability and heterozygosity observed at present in the indigenous populations. Since
migration is taking place on a reduced scale in the colonist metapopulation, the same is
true to a lesser extent. In turn, the extremely low genetic differentiation observed within
and between the two metapopulations suggests that seed exchange (migration) has been
extensive throughout the region over long periods of time. It cannot be ruled out that an
unforeseen potential of the species for pollination among populations might have played
a role here as well, over larger than expected distances by nonspecialist insect vectors.
In addition, the preservation of remnant palms has the potential to maintain alleles
introduced into the indigenous metapopulation for longer periods of time than would be
possible otherwise. Barring any sudden change in traditional agroforestry management
strategies, this factor should continue to play a role in the composition of the indigenous
metapopulation's genetic diversity, yet the frequency and extent of future genetic
migration within and among regions will remain crucial.
Epilogue: Participatory Domestication of Peach Palm in Peru
ICRAF (International Centre for Research in Agroforestry) and INIA (Instituto
Nacional de Investigaci6n Agraria) initiated a participatory domestication project for
Bactris gasipaes in Peru in 1997. Farmers in the Yurimaguas region wanted to conserve
the phenotypic diversity of their palms, and produce seeds for sale to other regions and
countries where there was a demand for their spineless type to establish heart-of-palm
plantations. This region is known to possess the most economically valuable landrace of
the species, Pampa Hermosa, with a high frequency of spineless trunks and leaves, and
rapid growth for heart-of-palm production (Mora Urpi and Echeverria 1999). There is
high phenotypic variability and relatively high genotypic variability in this particular
landrace (Rodrigues 2001), so it would benefit the farmers if this project produced seed
with relatively uniform trait characters. This is always the trade off with the
domestication of crops, and lesser-known crops in particular; those genetic resources
which fall outside of the domesticated type perceived as the most economically
promising will always erode.
Researchers asked 142 farmers from 16 different communities to select their best
spineless palms based on preferred fruit characteristics, expecting to create dual-purpose
populations (fruit for food security; heart-of-palm seeds for export). They then collected
at least 300 seed from each of these palms to establish on-farm progeny trials in the
Yurimaguas and Pucallpa regions (Weber et al. 2001). Each trial replication consisted of
two progeny plants of the 400 selected mother palms. The trials were rogued after 5
years, leaving the best plant from each progeny for the production of selected seed. To
maintain as much variability as possible at every step in the domestication process, no
selection among progenies took place.
The heritability of fruit traits in peach palm is unknown at present and those for
heart-of-palm growth and yield are low (Clement 1995). Nonetheless, genetic gain under
this scenario of selection might be improved if the trials were rogued among progenies as
well, rather than only within. Especially since the principal objective of both the farmers
and the researchers was to collect and conserve valuable phenotypes, and they did not
presume their project would conserve the underlying molecular diversity. They focused
instead on collecting palms that the farmers themselves identified as useful to them,
rather than collecting a wide range of randomly selected palms or palms identified
through molecular analysis as rare and valuable for genetic preservation.
The farmers are the owners of their replications, and they received periodic
stipends to finance the maintenance and fertilization of the trials. They certainly expect
INIA to help them export seed to Brazil and other Latin American heart-of-palm
producers, but it is not yet clear that INIA is organized for this task.
EXACT ORIGINS OF POPULATIONS ANALYZED
Table A-1. Exact origins of the 221 colonist (Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo) samples
# of palm samples Farm Community Lat. Long.
14 Farm 1 Nuevo Tarapaca 040 05' S 730 06' W
14 Farm 2 Nuevo Tarapaca 040 05' S 730 06' W
14 Farm 3 Nuevo Tarapaca 040 05' S 730 06' W
28 Farm 4 San Carlos 040 13' S 73 11' W
27 Farm 5 San Carlos 040 13' S 73 11' W
26 Farm 6 San Carlos 040 13' S 73 11' W
30 Farm 7 Nuevo Triunfo 040 08' S 730 09' W
30 Farm 8 Nuevo Triunfo 040 08' S 730 09' W
22 Farm 9 Nuevo San Juan 040 05' S 730 04' W
16 Farm 10 Nuevo San Juan 04 05' S 730 04' W
Table A-2. Exact origins of the 165 indigenous (Yahuasyacu-Ampiyacu) samples
# of palm samples Farm Community Lat. Long.
14 Farm 1 Brillo Nuevo 030 15' S 710 55'W
16 Farm 2 Brillo Nuevo 030 15' S 710 55'W
25 Farm 3 Brillo Nuevo 030 15' S 710 55'W
11 Farm 4 Puerto Isango 030 20' S 710 55' W
13 Farm 5 Puerto Isango 030 20' S 710 55' W
5 Farm 6 Pucaurquillo 030 24' S 710 50' W
19 Farm 7 Pucaurquillo 030 24' S 710 50' W
34 Farm 8 Pucaurquillo 030 24' S 710 50' W
13 Farm 9 Santa Lucia de Pro 030 24' S 710 48'W
15 Farm 10 Santa Lucia de Pro 030 24' S 71 48' W
Table A-3. Exact origins of the 8 populations from 5 landraces sampled from El Dorado
Lago Agrio-Rio Napo
Collection #'s 194 and 199 were combined to form population 4 and #'s 333 and 334
were combined to form population 8 in order to include these individuals in F-statistic
030 43' S
060 15' S
050 45' S
000 05' N
000 05' S
000 50' S
040 00' S
040 00' S
000 40' N
000 40' N
730 04' W
750 45' W
760 05' W
760 50' W
760 02' W
770 15' W
740 25' W
740 45' W
700 10' W
700 15' W
DNA EXTRACTION PROTOCOL
Extraction Protocol Adapted from Doyle and Doyle (1987)
1. CTAB buffer prepared daily
a. Polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) added to b-mercaptoethanol (b-merc) in CTAB
solution and stirred to dissolve right before starting extractions. Used 0.5 ml
CTAB + 0.02 g PVP + 2.5 [l b-merc per plant sample.
2. 15 mg of silica-dried plant tissue weighed out
3. Tissue ground with mortar and pestles
a. Pestles were stored in 10% bleach solution and rinsed well with DI
purified water before they were used on a new plant sample
b. Grinding was done with a pinch of autoclaved sand
4. 500 iL of CTAB buffer added to ground tissue sample in separate eppendorf tubes
5. Sample tubes incubated at 550 C for 1 h
6. 500 [L of 24:1 chloroform:iso-amyl alcohol added to sample tubes which were then
7. Tubes centrifuged for 10 minutes at maximum speed (13000 rpm).
a. Following centrifugation, there were three layers; top: aqueous phase,
middle: debris and proteins, bottom: chloroform
8. Pipetted off the aqueous phase taking care not to suck up any of the middle or
chloroform phases. Pipetting slowly helped with this
9. Placed each of the aqueous phases into new labeled eppendorf tubes
10. Estimated the volume of the aqueous phases
11. Added 0.08 volumes of cold 7.5 M ammonium acetate into the new tubes
12. Added 0.54 volumes (using the combined volume of aqueous phase and added
AmAc) of cold isopropanol (= 2-propanol) into the new tubes
13. Mixed (vortexed) tubes well
14. Placed tubes in freezer for 15 min
15. Centrifuged tubes for 3 min at maximum speed
16. Poured off the liquid in each tube, being careful not to lose the DNA pellets
17. Added 700 [L of cold 70% Ethanol to each tube and mixed
18. Centrifuged tubes for 1 min at maximum speed
19. Poured off the liquid in each tube, being careful not to lose the DNA pellet
20. Added 700 iL of cold 95% Ethanol to each tube and mixed
21. Centrifuged tubes for 1 min at maximum speed
22. Poured off the liquid in each tube, being careful not to lose the DNA pellets
23. Dried the pellets in the speed vacuum centrifuge for 20 min
24. Re-suspended DNA sample pellets with 100[L of TE buffer overnight in refrigerator
CTAB: for 1L of CTAB buffer
100 mL of 1 M Tris, pH 8.0
280 mL of 5 M NaCl
40 mL of 0.5 M EDTA
20 g of CTAB (Cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide)
TE buffer: for 1L
10 mM 10 ml of 1 M Tris, pH 8.0
1 mM 2 ml of 0.5 M EDTA
1 M Tris, pH 8.0: for 1 L
121.1 g Tris (Fisher Cat#: BP152-5)
700 ml ddH20
Dissolved Tris and brought to 900 ml.
pH brought to 8.0 with concentrated HC1 (-50ml)
Brought to 1 L
0.5 M EDTA pH 8.0: for 1 L
186.12 g of EDTA
750 ml ddH20
Added about 20 g of NaOH pellets
Slowly added more NaOH until pH was 8.0
5M NaCl: for 1 L
292.2 g of NaCl
700 ml ddH20
Dissolved and brought to 1 L
PAIRWISE GENETIC DIFFERENTIATION AMONG POPULATIONS AND TESTS
OF SIGNIFICANCE WITH BONFERRONI CORRECTIONS
Table C-1. Pairwise genetic differentiation within colonist metapopulation
POP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 0 0.0192 0.0179 0.0578 0.0586 0.0388 0.0449 0.0331 0.0052 0.0205
2 n.s. 0 0.0096 0.0579 0.0379 0.0236 0.0174 0.0258 -0.009 0.0035
3 n.s. n.s. 0 0.0613 0.0344 0.0245 0.0115 0.0109 0.0051 0.0136
4 0.0045 0.009 0.009 0 0.0497 0.0451 0.0547 0.0489 0.0491 0.0513
5 0.0225 n.s. n.s. 0.0045 0 0.0158 0.0501 0.0430 0.0301 0.0085
6 n.s. n.s. n.s. 0.0045 n.s. 0 0.0245 0.0335 0.0240 0.0133
7 n.s. n.s. n.s. 0.0045 0.0045 n.s. 0 0.0054 0.0250 0.0202
8 n.s. n.s. n.s. 0.0045 0.0045 0.045 n.s. 0 0.0213 0.0277
9 n.s. n.s. n.s. 0.0045 n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. 0 0.0012
10 n.s. n.s. n.s. 0.009 n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. 0
Pairwise 0-values (Weir and Cockerham 1984) averaged over loci on top half of matrix,
P-values (Bonferroni corrections) on bottom. Bold pairwise 0-values correspond to
significant P-values (P<0.05) listed in bottom half of matrix; n.s. indicates non-
Table C-2. Pairwise genetic differentiation within indigenous metapopulation
POP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 0 0.017 0.0131 0.0384 0.0038 0.071 0.0368 0.0091 0.0447 0.0246
2 n.s. 0 -0.0047 0.0575 -0.0167 0.0084 0.0083 0.0033 0.0091 0.0264
3 n.s. n.s. 0 0.0665 0.0068 0.0395 0.0246 0.0021 0.0296 0.0307
4 n.s. 0.0315 0.018 0 0.0215 0.0652 0.0323 0.0369 0.0372 0.0211
5 n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. 0 -0.0065 -0.0149 -0.0042 0.0061 0.0115
6 n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. 0 0.0037 0.0164 0.0043 0.0423
7 n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. 0 0.0115 0.0222 0.0202
8 n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. 0 0.0128 0.0083
9 n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. 0 0.0072
10 n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. 0
Table C-3. Pairwise genetic differentiation of eight populations of five peach palm
landraces sampled from El Dorado collection
POP 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 0 0.02927 0.0016 -0.0506 0.0038 -0.0031 -0.0142 0.1905
2 n.s. 0 0.0818 0.1144 0.1417 0.0868 0.0613 0.3213
3 n.s. n.s. 0 -0.0525 0.0949 0.004 -0.058 0.2386
4 n.s. n.s. n.s. 0 -0.0427 -0.0222 -0.0522 0.2609
5 n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. 0 0.0308 0.0713 0.3364
6 n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. 0 0.0055 0.2122
7 n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. 0 0.1222
8 n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. n.s. 0
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David M. Cole was born and raised in Rochester, New York. He first attended the
Utah State University School of Forestry, from 1992 until 1994. He continued pursuit of
a bachelor's degree in 1997, at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and graduated
with college honors in August 1999, with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies
(with an agroecology emphasis).