, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp 685-695

Genetic diversity and population structure of Eugenia dysenterica DC. (``cagaiteira'' – Myrtaceae) in Central Brazil: Spatial analysis and implications for conservation and management

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Studies about the organization of the genetic variability and population structure in natural plant populations are used to support conservation and management programs. Among the Cerrado fruit tree species that possess potential economic importance in agriculture, the “Cagaiteira” (Eugenia dysenterica DC. – Myrtaceae), deserves an special position. We obtained information about allele and genotypic frequencies in 10 local populations, situated up to 250 km apart, from six isozymes that furnished a total of 8 loci. The average within-population fixation index (f) was 0.337, and the out crossing rate was 0.835, suggesting a mixed mating system for this species, which seems to be preferably alogamous. Based on genetic diversity and analysis of variance techniques, a high degree of population differentiation (θP = 0.154) was found, in comparison with other tropical tree species. Genetic divergence, analyzed by Nei's genetic distances, clustered with UPGMA and ordinated by non-metric multidimensional scaling, showed spatial patterns of clusters of local populations. Explicit spatial analyses, using Mantel tests and boundary tests, basically confirmed these patterns and revealed a complex pattern of genetic variation in geographic space. The intercept of the multivariate spatial correlograms was around 120 km, an indication of the minimum distance between samples needed to conserve genetic diversity among samples. This spatial scale can be used to define population genetics units for conservation programs or to establish sampling strategies.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.