Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 63, Issue 7, pp 1255–1271 | Cite as

Effects of traditional management for mescal production on the diversity and genetic structure of Agave potatorum (Asparagaceae) in central Mexico

  • Lizeth I. Félix-Valdez
  • Ofelia Vargas-Ponce
  • Dánae Cabrera-Toledo
  • Alejandro Casas
  • Angélica Cibrian-Jaramillo
  • Lino de la Cruz-Larios
Research Article


Agave potatorum is a wild endemic species of Mexico. Its stems are used for mescal production, which cancels sexual reproduction. Agaves extraction from forests decreases their reproductive success and demographic performance. We evaluated patterns of genetic diversity and structure of wild populations under and without extraction in order to identify effects of its use and actions required for conserving genetic variation. This study was conducted with seven SSR markers in 12 populations representing the entire distribution area of the species. Standard parameters of genetic diversity, differentiation, structure and genetic similarity of populations were calculated and analyzed. The populations studied showed intermediate to high genetic diversity (H e  = 0.36–0.64), compared with other Agave species so far studied. The wild category was the most diverse (H T  = 0.87), but without significant differences with respect to populations under extraction (H T  = 0.72), and two germplasm banks sampled (H T  = 0.69). High structure among populations (Φ PR  = 0.38) and inbreeding levels (F IS  = 0.26, F IT  = 0.55) were identified; a 3 % of genetic diversity being distributed among management status where germplasm banks represent a genetic pool with incipient divergence from the other categories. Bayesian analysis indicated two genetic groups. Our study suggests slight effects of management on genetic diversity of A. potatorum, apparently related to alterations of reproductive biology and pollination patterns.


Endemic plant Germplasm banks Incipient domestication Plant extraction Population genetics Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley 



This study was financed by the following institutions: Rufford Small Grants; Programa Integral de Fortalecimiento Institucional: Secretaría de Educación Pública-Universidad de Guadalajara (PIFI, SEP-UdG); Programa de Apoyo a Proyectos de Investigación e Innovación Tecnológica (PAPIIT, UNAM project IN209214); CONACYT, Mexico (Project CB-2013-01-221800). The authors thank P. Carrillo-Reyes, E. Pérez-Negrón and I. Torres for assistance in fieldwork, and P. Zamora-Tavares for laboratory assistance; G. Munguía-Lino for his support in the elaboration of the map. We also thank to A. Delgado-Lemus, I. Torres and P. Carrillo-Reyes for share their pictures. This study is part of the M.Sc. dissertation of the first author.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lizeth I. Félix-Valdez
    • 1
  • Ofelia Vargas-Ponce
    • 1
  • Dánae Cabrera-Toledo
    • 1
  • Alejandro Casas
    • 2
  • Angélica Cibrian-Jaramillo
    • 3
  • Lino de la Cruz-Larios
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro Universitario de Ciencias Biológicas y AgropecuariasUniversidad de GuadalajaraNextipacMexico
  2. 2.Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y Sustentabilidad (IIES)Universidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMichoacánMexico
  3. 3.Laboratorio Nacional de Genómica para la BiodiversidadCentro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico NacionalGuanajuatoMexico

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