Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 118, Issue 2, pp 147–153 | Cite as

Genetic analysis and conservation of the endangered Canary Island woody sow-thistle, Sonchus gandogeri (Asteraceae)

  • S. -C. KimEmail author
  • C. Lee
  • A. Santos-Guerra
Original Article


Sonchus gandogeri, a woody sow-thistle, is an endangered Canary Island endemic with only two known populations, one in the El Golfo and another in the Las Esperillas of El Hierro. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers were used to assess the genetic variation within and among populations. The mean genetic diversity of two populations was estimated to be 0.380, and the El Golfo population (0.380) had higher genetic diversity than the southeastern one (0.268). The unbiased Nei’s genetic identity between the two populations was 0.846. The mean genetic diversity of S. gandogeri was much higher than that of the other endangered plant species. This is perhaps due to breeding system, life form, extinction, and/or introgressive hybridization and hybrid origin of the taxon. This study also indicates that the two populations are not strongly differentiated (GST=0.149). This study suggests that S. gandogeri is more likely to become extinct due to environmental or demographic forces than genetic factors, such as inbreeding depression. More strict control of introduced herbivores is necessary to protect these populations, and germplasm collection for ex situ conservation is needed.


AFLP Canary archipelago Conservation genetics Endangered species Genetic variation Sonchus gandogeri 



The authors wish to thank Daniel Crawford, Javier Francisco-Ortega, and Norm Ellstrand for helpful comments on an early version of the manuscript. The manuscript was greatly improved by comments from two anonymous reviewers. This project is supported in part by an Academic Senate Grant, Regents’ Faculty Fellowship, and Agricultural Experiment Station funds from the University of California at Riverside to S.-C. Kim. We also thank Cabildo de El Hierro for issuing a permit to collect plants on El Hierro and the ICIA (Instituto Canario de Investigaciones Agrarias) for letting us use their facilities.


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Botany and Plant SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA
  2. 2.Jardín de Aclimatación de La OrotavaPuerto de La Cruz, TenerifeSpain

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