, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 1109-1128

Genetic Diversity of Dalbergia monticola (Fabaceae) an Endangered Tree Species in the Fragmented Oriental Forest of Madagascar

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Abstract

There is an urgent need to maintain and restore a broad genetic base for the management of Dalbergia monticola, a very economically important but endangered tree species in Madagascar. Random amplified polymorphism DNAs (RAPDs) and chloroplast microsatellite markers were used to quantify the genetic variation and to analyse the geographic distribution of diversity. Ten locations covering most of the natural range were sampled. Sixty-three RAPD polymorphic and 15 monomorphic loci were obtained from 122 individuals. Genetic diversity was low and very close among populations and regions. The unrooted neighbour-joining tree exhibited 4 groups, representing 6% (p = 0.000) of the total variation. The greater part of the variance, 81%, was observed within populations. A Mantel test suggested that genetic distances between populations were weakly correlated with geographic distances (R = 0.46, p = 0.12). The three chloroplast microsatellite primers assayed on 100 individuals gave 13 chlorotypes. Most of the populations showed 2 or 3 haplotypes. Haplotype diversity for the total population was equal to HeCp = 0.83 and ranged from 0.00 to 0.80 among the populations. The unrooted neighbour-joining tree exhibited 4 groups corresponding to the four regions representing 80% (p = 0.0000) of the total variation. Genetic diversity varies with regions, the north and south being less variable. Chlorotype distribution, the phylogenetic tree and historical information suggest that putative refugias in the centre-north region originating from the early Holocene could explain the pattern of variation observed today. By combining the results obtained at nuclear and organellar loci, a strategy of conservation based on evolutionarily significant units is proposed.