Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 126, Issue 1, pp 81–93 | Cite as

Genetic guidelines for the conservation of the endangered polyploid Centaurea borjae (Asteraceae)

  • Lua Lopez
  • Rodolfo Barreiro
Regular Paper


Appropriate management of species of conservation concern requires designing strategies that should include genetic information as small population size and restricted geographic range can reduce genetic variation. We used AFLPs to investigate genetic variation within and among populations of the endangered narrow endemic Centaurea borjae, and found no evidence for genetic impoverishment despite its <40 km range and potential for vegetative propagation. Genetic variation was comparable to other plants with similar life history (88 % occurring within populations) and potential clone mates were less frequent than expected. Nonetheless, populations separated by few hundred meters showed signs of significant genetic differentiation suggesting low gene flow between them. Our results suggested that the three geographically closer populations located at the center of the range might be treated as a single management unit, while the remaining ones could be considered independent units. We found evidence of fine-scale spatial genetic structure up to 80 m indicating that the collection of germplasm for ex-situ conservation should focus on individuals separated >80 m to maximize genetic variation.


Centaurea borjae Conservation Endangered species Genetic diversity Polyploidy 



This research was supported by the project 07MDS031103PR (Xunta de Galicia). We deeply appreciate the help of Maria Quintela with network, the outlier loci detection and the STRUCTURE analysis. We also thank three anonymous reviewers for insightful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10265_2012_497_MOESM1_ESM.doc (64 kb)
Supplementary Table S1 (DOC 64 kb)
10265_2012_497_MOESM2_ESM.doc (58 kb)
Supplementary material S1 (DOC 58.5 kb)


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© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Área de Ecología, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad da CoruñaA CoruñaSpain

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