Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 300, Issue 3, pp 403–413 | Cite as

Genetic structure and diversity of Coscinium fenestratum: a critically endangered liana of Western Ghats, India

  • H. N. Thriveni
  • R. C. Sumangala
  • K. N. Shivaprakash
  • G. Ravikanth
  • R. VasudevaEmail author
  • H. N. Ramesh Babu
Original Article


Coscinium fenestratum is a critically endangered medicinal plant, well-known for its bioactive isoquinoline alkaloid berberine. The species has been over harvested from its natural habitats to meet the huge requirement of raw drug market and industrial consumption. This has lead to a rapid decline in the population size and has also led to local population extinction at few locations in the Western Ghats, India. In this study, inter-simple sequence repeat markers were used to investigate the genetic variation and population structure of seven extant populations of C. fenestratum from the central Western Ghats, India. Eight primer combination produced a total of 57 unambiguous bands, of which (47.1 %) were polymorphic. The species exhibited a moderate to low level of intra population genetic diversity (H s = 0.347 ± 0.008; H t = 0.378 ± 0.006 (POPGENE) and H s = 0.262 ± 0.0028; H t = 0.204 ± 0.020 (HICKORY)). The populations were low to moderately differentiated from one another (G ST = 0.221) and geographical distance was not significantly correlated with genetic distance, suggesting that these long-lived, geographically distant remnant populations were once connected through gene flow. There was a significant amount of genetic variation among populations (19.85 %). The Bayesian software STRUCTURE and HICKORY were used to further reveal the genetic structure of C. fenestratum. The results revealed weak population structure (K = 2) with one single widespread gene pool, and indicated that gene flow and inbreeding are likely to be the major driving force in shaping current population genetic structure of C. fenestratum. Thus, an understanding of the genetic diversity and population structure of C. fenestratum can provide insight into the conservation and management of this species.


C. fenestratum Western Ghats ISSR Critically endangered Genetic diversity Genetic differentiation 



We would like to thank Karnataka Forest Department for the permission to collect the samples in the protected area and for providing the species distribution data.

Supplementary material

606_2013_890_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (133 kb)
Supplementary material (PDF 132 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. N. Thriveni
    • 1
  • R. C. Sumangala
    • 2
  • K. N. Shivaprakash
    • 3
    • 4
  • G. Ravikanth
    • 2
  • R. Vasudeva
    • 1
    Email author
  • H. N. Ramesh Babu
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Forest Biology and Tree Improvement, College of ForestryUniversity of Agricultural Sciences DharwadSirsi CampusIndia
  2. 2.Department of Conservation GeneticsAshoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Royal EnclaveBangaloreIndia
  3. 3.Department of Biology and Centre for Structural and Functional GenomicsConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  4. 4.Québec Centre for Biodiversity ScienceMontréalCanada
  5. 5.Department of Seed Science and Technology, Sahyadri Science CollegeKuvempu UniversityShimogaIndia

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