Biodiv Sci ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (1): 97-108.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2014.13135

Special Issue: 基因组和生物多样性

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Pollen dispersal analysis using DNA markers

Wei Zhou1,2, Hong Wang1,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Biogeography, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650204
    2. Germplasm Bank of Wild Species in Southwest China, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650204
  • Received:2013-06-06 Accepted:2013-10-09 Online:2014-01-20 Published:2014-02-10
  • Contact: Wang Hong


Modes of pollen dispersal are important for plant ecology, conservation, and evolutionary biology as pollen-mediated gene flow connects one generation of sexually-reproducing plants to the next. With the development of DNA molecular techniques, molecular markers (especially microsatellite markers) have replaced traditional physical markers for pollen flow analysis. Methods of paternity assignment with maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference have greatly improved the estimation of pollen flow characteristics with regard to direction, distance, and strength. Pollen dispersal curves have been characterized by single parameter, two-parameter, multi-parameter, and two-component composite models to better evaluate the shape of dispersal distributions. These innovative techniques and methods have been successfully applied to assess pollination patterns in studies of plant sexual polymorphism, population connectivity, and natural hybridization, which, in turn, have provided important insights into basic theories of evolution, ecology, and conservation. In the coming years, high-throughput sequencing technologies are expected to accelerate the application of molecular marker-based pollen flow analysis across a wide range of plant taxa.

Key words: molecular marker, gene flow, pollen dispersal, parentage analysis, paternity assignment, dispersal kernel, next-generation sequencing