Genetic Variation in Three Endangered Species of Encholirium (Bromeliaceae) from Cadeia do Espinhaço, Brazil, Setected using RAPD Markers
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Encholirium is a Brazilian genus of Bromeliaceae that occurs exclusively in rocky landscapes. This work aimed to generate basic information for the conservation of three Encholirium species that are endemic to the rocky mountains of Cadeia do Espinhaço, employing population genetic analyses. E. pedicellatum and E. biflorum have only one very small population each, both occurring in unprotected, private land sites, being critically endangered. E. subsecundum is more widespread, and some of its populations dwell in protected areas. Five Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) primers generated approximately 60 polymorphic bands for each species. This technique demonstrated the presence of a single RAPD profile for every individual sampled (except for one clone found in E. biflorum). High levels of genetic variability were not expected, due to the clonal habit of the plants and small size of the populations. Populations of E. biflorum and E. pedicellatum presented, respectively, 16.06% (Φst = 0.16, p<0.001) and 8.44% (Φst = 0.08, p<0.001) of the total genetic diversity attributable to genetic differences among groups within the populations. In E. subsecundum, 14.52% (Φst = 0.15, p<0.001) of the total genetic diversity was found among populations. Estimates of the Shannon’s Diversity Index provided similar results. These results are valuable for the development of conservation strategies.
KeywordsBromeliaceae Conservation biology Encholirium Population genetic structure RAPD Rare plants
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