Allozyme diversity in the federally threatened golden paintbrush, Castilleja levisecta (Scrophulariaceae) Article Received: 09 October 2003 Accepted: 23 August 2004 DOI:
10.1007/s10592-004-7746-5 Cite this article as: Godt, M.J.W., Caplow, F. & Hamrick, J. Conserv Genet (2005) 6: 87. doi:10.1007/s10592-004-7746-5 Abstract Castilleja levisecta (Scrophulariaceae), the golden paintbrush, is an insect-pollinated herbaceaous perennial found in the Pacific Northwest. Currently restricted to two island populations off British Columbia and nine populations (eight on islands) in Washington, C. levisecta is a rare species threatened with extinction. Allozymes were used to describe genetic diversity and structure in these eleven populations. Despite its threatened status and small geographic range, exceptionally high levels of genetic diversity are maintained within C. levisecta. All sixteen of the loci resolved were polymorphic within the species ( P s=100%), while the mean percentage of loci polymorphic within populations ( P p) was 65.7%. The mean number of alleles per polymorphic locus ( AP s) was 2.94 within the species and averaged 2.38 within populations ( AP p). Genetic diversity ( H es) was 0.285 for the species, whereas mean population genetic diversity ( H ep) was 0.213. Smaller populations had, on average, fewer observed alleles and less genetic diversity. A significant negative correlation ( r = −0.72) was found between genetic identity and geographic distance, indicating reduced gene flow between distant populations. The most geographically isolated population was one of the larger populations, one of the most genetically diverse and the most genetically divergent. A wide range of pairwise population genetic identities ( I = 0.771 − 0.992) was found, indicating considerable genetic divergence between some populations. Overall, 19% of the total genetic diversity was distributed among populations. Results of this survey indicate that genetic augmentation of existing populations is unnecessary. The high allelic diversity found for the species and within its populations holds promise for conservation and restoration efforts to save this rare and threatened plant species. Keywords endangered genetic diversity rare reintroduction restoration References Alvarez-Buylla, ER, Garay, AA 1994 Population genetic structure of Cecropia obtusifolia, a tropical pioneer tree species Evolution 48 437 453 Google Scholar Barrett, SCH, Kohn, JR 1991 Genetic and evolutionary consequences of small population size in plants: Implications for conservation Falk, DA Holsinger, KE eds. Genetics and Conservation of Rare Plants Oxford University Press New York 3 30 Google Scholar Boscaiu, M, Guemes, J 2001 Breeding system and conservation strategy of the extremely endangered Cistus carthaginensis Pau (Cistaceae) of Spain Israel J. Plant Sci. 49 213 220 Google Scholar Byers, DL, Meagher, TR 1992 Mate availability in small populations of plant species with homomorphic sporophytic self-incompatibility Heredity 68 353 359 Google Scholar Caplow, F 2001Draft Reintroduction Plan for Castilleja levisecta (Golden Paintbrush). Washington Natural Heritage Program Washington Department of Natural Resources, Olympia WA, USA 46 Google Scholar
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