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Mediation of Gene Flow in Tropical Trees of Sub-Saharan Africa

Onokpise, Oghenekome U.;Akinyele, Adejoke O.

  • Received : 2011.06.13
  • Accepted : 2012.02.16
  • Published : 2012.02.29

Abstract

Tropical forests whether fragmented or undisturbed or be they equatorial or deciduous, remain the storehouse of biodiversity for hundreds of thousands of plant and animal species. This unique characteristic continues to attract a wide range of scientists and international organizations to study and attempt to understand tropical forest ecosystems. Gene flow is mediated by pollen, seed and seedling dispersal, and factors affecting this gene flow include phenology, spatial distribution, population structures, seed predation, sexual and mating systems as well as physical and biological barriers to gene flow. Two methods are used in measuring gene flow: direct method that relies on the actual observation of seed and pollen dispersal, whereas indirect methods involve the use of genetic markers such as allozymes and DNA techniques. Political strife, extreme natural and artificial disasters, the lack of a comprehensive forestry research vision, coupled with difficult socio-economic conditions in Africa have made the environment quite difficult for sustained research activities on the part of those undertaking or wishing to undertake such studies. Gene flow studies in this region are few and far between. This review elaborates on the mechanisms of gene flow mediation in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords

mechanism for gene flow;mediators;population ecology

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