Anales del Jardín Botánico de Madrid, Vol 70, No 1 (2013)

Genetic diversity in peripheral and central populations of the Cantabrian endemism Genista legionensis (Pau) M. Laínz (Fabaceae)


https://doi.org/10.3989/ajbm.2313

Eduardo Cires
Departamento de Biología de Organismos y Sistemas, Universidad de Oviedo - Department of Biology, Research Group Spermatophytes, Ghent University, Spain

René Pérez
Departamento de Biología de Organismos y Sistemas, Universidad de Oviedo, Spain

Álvaro Bueno
Jardín Botánico Atlántico / INDUROT Universidad de Oviedo, Spain

José Antonio Fernández Prieto
Departamento de Biología de Organismos y Sistemas, Universidad de Oviedo, Spain

Abstract


The impact of habitat fragmentation and isolation on the genetic diversity of populations has attracted much attention in studies of plant conservation. The central-peripheral population hypothesis predicts that peripheral populations have reduced genetic variability, so it is often assumed that they deserve higher conservation priority over central populations. In this work, using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), we studied the genetic diversity of central and peripheral populations of the Cantabrian endemism Genista legionensis (Fabaceae). At the species level, percentage of polymorphic bands, Nei heterozygosity and Shannon information index were PPB = 89.21%, Hε = 0.246 and I = 0.377, respectively. The study revealed that peripheral populations were smaller in number, with lower levels of genetic diversity compared to the central populations. Furthermore, analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) indicated that most of the variability was partitioned among populations, also supported by principal coordinates analysis. This study indicates that the decrease in diversity from central to peripheral populations could be explained as a result of edge effect and fragmentation through the enhanced inbreeding and genetic drift, and thus supported the view that habitat fragmentation and related edge effect reduce the population genetic diversity. However, the presence of discriminating fragments in the peripheral populations suggests their conservation in order to preserve the genetic diversity in the Cantabrian endemism G. legionensis.

Keywords


AFLP; central populations; edge effect; endangered species; endemism; genetic diversity; peripheral populations; plant conservation

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