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Low genetic diversity among populations of the rare Chinese endemic Kingdonia uniflora revealed by RAPD analysis

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Kingdonia uniflora is an endangered and protected species of China. It is distributed in west Yunnan, from northwest Sichuan to south Gansu, and in the central part of Shaanxi Province. Nine populations of the species from five mountain ranges were examined with random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers. The result showed that the genetic diversity is largely within and not among populations. The genetic diversity is 79.14% within populations, 20.49% among populations within mountain ranges, and 0.37% among mountain ranges. The level of genetic diversity of the species is low. The migration rate (Nm) is 0.947, so the contribution of the genetic drift in the genetic diversity is very limited. According to the UPGMA analysis and the Mantel test (r = -0.0006), the genetic differentiation between populations is not related to its geographic distribution pattern. After analysis of the possible history and the biological characteristics of the species, we considered that the low genetic diversity might be not the endangered causation, but the endangered result of K. uniflora. Taking into account the present results, the possible cause of endangerment was discussed.

Affiliations: 1: College of Life Sciences, Shaanxi Normal University ; 2: State Key Laboratory of Transient Optics and Technology, Xi'an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences ; 3: Laboratory of Systematic and Evolution Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences


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