We compared the genetic variation of Pinus pinaster populations using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) and chloroplast simple-sequence repeat (cpSSR) loci. Populations' levels of diversity within groups were found to be similar with AFLPs, but not with cpSSRs. The high interlocus variance associated with the AFLP loci could account for the lack of differences in the former. Although AFLPs revealed much lower genetic diversity than cpSSRs, the levels of among-population differentiation found with the two types of marker were similar, provided that loci showing fewer than four null-homozygotes, in any population, were pruned from the AFLP data. Moreover, the French and Portuguese populations were clearly differentiated from each other, with both markers. The Mantel test showed that the genetic distance matrix calculated using the AFLP data was correlated with the matrix derived from the cpSSRs. Because of the concordance found between markers we conclude that gene flow was indeed the predominant force shaping nuclear and chloroplastic genetic variation of the populations within regions, at the geographical scale studied.
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