Asexual reproduction has the potential to promote population structuring through matings between clones as well as through limited dispersal of related progeny. Here we present an application of three-gene identity coefficients that tests whether clonal reproduction promotes inbreeding and spatial relatedness within populations. With this method, the first two genes are sampled to estimate pairwise relatedness or inbreeding, whereas the third gene is sampled from either a clone or a sexually derived individual. If three-gene coefficients are significantly greater for clones than nonclones, then clonality contributes excessively to genetic structure. First, we describe an estimator of three-gene identity and briefly evaluate its properties. We then use this estimator to test the effect of clonality on the genetic structure within populations of yellow-cedar (Callitropsis nootkatensis) using a molecular marker survey. Five microsatellite loci were genotyped for 485 trees sampled from nine populations. Our three-gene analyses show that clonal ramets promote inbreeding and spatial structure in most populations. Among-population correlations between clonal extent and genetic structure generally support these trends, yet with less statistical significance. Clones appear to contribute to genetic structure through the limited dispersal of offspring from replicated ramets of the same clonal genet, whereas this structure is likely maintained by mating among these relatives.
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Vol. 62 • No. 10