Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 547–566 | Cite as

Genetic diversity of three endangered species of Echium L. (Boraginaceae) endemic to Cape Verde Islands

  • Maria M. Romeiras
  • Helena C. Cotrim
  • Maria C. Duarte
  • Maria S. Pais


Echium hypertropicum, E. stenosiphon and E. vulcanorum are the three endemics representative of the genus Echium (Boraginaceae) in Cape Verde archipelago. The aim of this study is to provide a first attempt at estimating genetic diversity among natural populations of these endangered Echium species based on RAPD, so as to provide data available for future appropriate strategies for their conservation. PCO and UPGMA of RAPD analysis suggests a close genetic proximity between the Southern endemic species (E. hypertropicum and E. vulcanorum) and shows that the levels of polymorphism strongly differ between these two Echium species (27 and 29% respectively) and E. stenosiphon (74%), the Northern endemic species. Mantel test also corroborates a close genetic proximity between genetic and geographic data. Population genetic analysis of E. stenosiphon revealed low levels of gene flow between islands (Nm = 0.32) being S. Nicolau the most isolated as evident in PCO. Furthermore the differentiation between groups of individuals belonging to putative subspecies was tested by AMOVA. According to our results there is no genetic basis to consider the two subspecies of E. stenosiphon namely ssp. stenosiphon and ssp. lindbergii. Our results enable us to suggest that E. stenosiphon must be ranked as a Threatened species. Measures aiming at conservation of E. hypertropicum and E. vulcanorum must be implemented at short-term taking into account the small number of existing plants and its low genetic variability.


Boraginaceae Cape Verde Islands Echium Endemic species Gene flow Genetic diversity Heterostyly Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria M. Romeiras
    • 1
  • Helena C. Cotrim
    • 1
  • Maria C. Duarte
    • 2
  • Maria S. Pais
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculdade de Ciências de Lisboa, Campo GrandeUnit of Plant Molecular Biology and Biotechnology – ICATLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Centro de Botânica, Instituto Investigação Científica TropicalLisboaPortugal

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