Genetic guidelines for the conservation of the endangered polyploid Centaurea borjae (Asteraceae)
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- Lopez, L. & Barreiro, R. J Plant Res (2013) 126: 81. doi:10.1007/s10265-012-0497-3
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Appropriate management of species of conservation concern requires designing strategies that should include genetic information as small population size and restricted geographic range can reduce genetic variation. We used AFLPs to investigate genetic variation within and among populations of the endangered narrow endemic Centaurea borjae, and found no evidence for genetic impoverishment despite its <40 km range and potential for vegetative propagation. Genetic variation was comparable to other plants with similar life history (88 % occurring within populations) and potential clone mates were less frequent than expected. Nonetheless, populations separated by few hundred meters showed signs of significant genetic differentiation suggesting low gene flow between them. Our results suggested that the three geographically closer populations located at the center of the range might be treated as a single management unit, while the remaining ones could be considered independent units. We found evidence of fine-scale spatial genetic structure up to 80 m indicating that the collection of germplasm for ex-situ conservation should focus on individuals separated >80 m to maximize genetic variation.