Genetic variation and distribution of pacific crabapple

Kanin J. Routson, Gayle M. Volk, Christopher M. Richards, Steven E. Smith, Gary Paul Nabhan, Victoria Wyllie de Echeverria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Pacific crabapple [Malus fusca (Raf.) C.K. Schneid.] is found in mesic coastal habitats in Pacific northwestern North America. It is one of four apple species native to North America. M. fusca is culturally important to First Nations of the region who value and use the fruit of this species as food, bark and leaves for medicine, and wood for making tools and in construction. However, little is known about either distribution or genetic diversity of this species. To correct this deficiency, we used habitat suitability modeling to map M. fusca habitat types with species occurrence records. The species apparently occupies at least two distinct climate regions: a colder, drier northern region and a warmer, wetter southern region. Total area of modeled habitat encompasses ≈ 356,780 km2 of low-lying areas along the Pacific coast. A total of 239 M. fusca individuals sampled from across its native range were genetically compared using six microsatellite markers to assess for possible geographic structuring of genotypes. The primers amplified 50 alleles. Significant isolation by distance was identified across the ≈ 2600 km (straight line) where samples were distributed. These results may help establish priorities for in situ and ex situ M. fusca conservation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-332
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Ex situ gene conservation
  • Genetic diversity
  • Malus fusca
  • Species distribution modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Horticulture


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