Aims: Platycladus orientalis (Cupressaceae) is an old-growth tree species which distributed in the imperial parks and ancient temples in Beijing, China. We aim to (1) examine the genetic diversity and reproductive traits of old-growth and young populations of P. orientalis to ascertain whether the older populations contain a higher genetic diversity, more private alleles and a higher reproductive output compared with younger populations; (2) determine the relationships between the age of the population and the genetic diversity and reproductive traits; and (3) determine whether the imperial parks and ancient temples played an important role in maintaining the reproductive capacity and genetic diversity of Platycladus orientalis. Methods: Samples from seven young (younger than 100 yrs.) and nine old-growth (older than 300 yrs.) artificial populations were collected. For comparison, three young and two old-growth natural populations were also sampled. Nine microsatellite loci were used to analyze genetic diversity parameters. These parameters were calculated using FSTAT version 2.9.3 and GenAlex v 6.41. Important Findings: The old-growth artificial populations of P. orientalis have significantly higher genetic diversity than younger artificial populations and similar levels to those in extant natural populations. The imperial parks and ancient temples, which have protected these old-growth trees for centuries, have played an important role in maintaining the genetic diversity and reproductive capacity of this tree species. © 2013 Zhu, Lou.
Zhu, L., & Lou, A. (2013). Old-Growth Platycladus orientalis as a Resource for Reproductive Capacity and Genetic Diversity. PLoS ONE, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0056489