, Volume 46, Issue 3-4, pp 180-196

Genetic Diversity and Geographic Differentiation in the Threatened Species Dysosma pleiantha in China as Revealed by ISSR Analysis

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Dysosma pleiantha, an important threatened medicinal plant species, is restricted in distribution to southeastern China. The species is capable of reproducing both sexually and asexually. In this study, inter-simple sequence repeat marker data were obtained and analyzed with respect to genetic variation and genetic structure. The extent of clonality, together with the clonal and sexual reproductive strategies, varied among sites, and the populations under harsh ecological conditions tended to have large clones with relatively low clonal diversity caused by vegetative reproduction. The ramets sharing the same genotype show a clumped distribution. Across all populations surveyed, average within-population diversity was remarkably low (e.g., 0.111 for Nei’s gene diversity), with populations from the nature reserves maintaining relatively high amounts of genetic diversity. Among all populations, high genetic differentiation (AMOVA: ΦST = 0.500; Nei’s genetic diversity: G ST = 0.465, Bayesian analysis: ΦB = 0.436) was detected, together with an isolation-by-distance pattern. Low seedling recruitment due to inbreeding, restricted gene flow, and genetic drift are proposed as determinant factors responsible for the low genetic diversity and high genetic differentiation observed.