tallgrass prairie, butterfly milkweed, microsatellite, inbreeding, outbreeding
Isolated in scattered remnants, less than 0.1% of Iowa's original tallgrass prairie remains. The small populations remaining are at risk for reduced genetic diversity, inbreeding depression, and outbreeding depression. In light of these concerns, we used microsatellite analysis to assess the genetic structure of butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) populations on prairie remnants in northwest Iowa. We compared remnant populations with a restoration population at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and with an Oklahoma seed source. Microsatellites identified for use in common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) had sufficient polymorphism information content (PIC) across the butterfly milkweed (A. tuberosa) populations sampled (mean PIC = 0.624). The FIS values indicated a lack of inbreeding (mean FIS = −0.1455) even in the commercially expanded seed. The pairwise FST values showed a low degree of differentiation among the remnants (mean FST = 0.0453) but a moderate degree (mean FST = 0.105) of differentiation when comparing the remnants to the Dordt restoration or to seed from Oklahoma. Despite massive loss and fragmentation of the tallgrass prairie, our microsatellite analysis revealed no evidence of inbreeding in A. tuberosa. However, evidence of genetic differentiation suggests that effort should be made to preserve the diversity still present. Seed expansion efforts appear to have had minimal impact on overall genetic diversity, although the diversity in particular selectable traits may be reduced. The differences between the genetics of the propagated seed at the Dordt restoration and the Oklahoma seed when compared to native remnants support the usefulness of source-identified seed.
Source Publication Title
Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science
Iowa Academy of Science
Ploegstra, J., De Ruyter, B., & Jelsma, T. N. (2016). Population Genetic Structure of Asclepias Tuberosa in Northwest Iowa: A Comparison Within and Between Remnant Prairies and Commercially Available Seed. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science, 122 (1), 1. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.17833/121-04.1