Conservation Genetics Resources

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 219–227 | Cite as

Population differentiation in relation to conservation: nuclear microsatellite variation in the Canary Island endemic Lotus sessilifolius (Fabaceae)

  • Ji Yong Yang
  • Dario I. Ojeda
  • Arnoldo Santos-Guerra
  • Ruth Jaén Molina
  • Juli Caujapé-Castells
  • Quentin Cronk
Methods and Resources Article


We developed and characterized microsatellite markers for the genus Lotus, a large genus of leguminous plants containing many endemic species of conservation interest. The marker system was then used to survey patterns of population genetic variation of Lotus sessilifolius, a Canary Island endemic occurring on four islands (La Palma, El Hierro, La Gomera and Tenerife) with the aim of determining whether any of its populations are worthy of special conservation because of genetic distinctiveness. We found strong differentiation between populations with conspicuous geographical signal revealed by population clustering. Generally, populations from each island grouped together. A very striking exception to this pattern is a single population from Tenerife (Tejina-Milán: Anaga Peninsula), which is separated from other Tenerife populations by both genetic clustering and a STRUCTURE analysis, and also shows signs of inbreeding. The genetic distinctiveness of this population deserves especial conservation attention, and may be related to the ancient geological history of the Anaga Peninsula. Importantly, this investigation sets the stage for conservation genetics research in other highly threatened species in the same genus.


Phylogeography Macaronesia Simple sequence repeat SSR 



This work was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) under the Discovery Grants Program (Grant No. RGPIN-2014-05820 to QC).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Botany, The Biodiversity Research CenterUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of BiologyLangara CollegeVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of Evolutionary Biology and EcologyUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.TeguesteSpain
  5. 5.Jardin Botánico Canario “Viera y Clavijo” - Unidad Asociada CSICLas PalmasSpain

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