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Am J Bot. 2009 Nov;96(11):2022-30. doi: 10.3732/ajb.0800368. Epub 2009 Oct 26.

Genetic diversity of the endangered and narrow endemic Piperia yadonii (Orchidaceae) assessed with ISSR polymorphisms.

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  • 1University of Florida NFREC, 155 Research Road, Quincy, Florida 32351 USA.


Highly endangered plants that are also narrow endemics are generally found to be genetically depauperate and thus are exceedingly susceptible to ecological and anthropological threats that can lead to their extinction. Piperia yadonii is restricted to a single California county within a biodiversity hotspot. We used nine primers to generate intersimple sequence repeat (ISSR) data to assess its genetic diversity and structure. Within each population, 99% of the loci were polymorphic, expected heterozygosity was low, and a majority of the loci were shared with few other populations. Forty percent of the total variation could be attributed to population differentiation while the rest (60%) resides within populations, and the genetic distances between populations were independent of the corresponding geographical distances. High divergence among populations is likely due to fragmentation and limited gene flow. Each population contains several private loci, and ideally, each should be protected to preserve the overall diversity of the species. Because P. yadonii currently retains a modest amount of genetic variation among individuals within populations, preserving and expanding the habitat at each site to allow natural expansion of populations would be additional strategies for its conservation before populations become too small to persist naturally.

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