Silene rothmaleri P. Silva (Caryophyllaceae), a rare, fragmented but genetically diverse species
Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 12, Number 6, June 2003 , pp. 1083-1098(16)
Silene rothmaleri is an endemic Portuguese species considered extinct until 1992, when it was rediscovered in the wild with a highly fragmented distribution. These rare plants occur along the southwestern Portuguese coast in small populations, which in addition to phenological differences that occur along the north–south gradient could create a pattern of genetic isolation. To evaluate the degree of genetic diversity and estimate the relationship between population fragmentation and genetic variability, we analysed the five known populations of S. rothmaleri using random amplified polymorphic DNA. Degree of polymorphism and Shannon Index of phenotypic diversity revealed high levels of diversity, found mainly within populations. PCo and cluster analysis revealed a distinct north–south cline, which was confirmed by spatial autocorrelation (Mantel) analysis. This indicates the existence of gene flow between small nearby populations and its insufficiency between widely separated populations. Levels of gene flow (Nm) estimated from the Shannon Index reveal a pattern consistent with a larger past distribution that went through a period of contraction and lack of gene flow followed by population differentiation. The central and largest population probably acts as a core of genetic variability inherited as a relict from a larger and more diverse ancestral population.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Laboratory Plant Biotechnology, ICAT, Ed. ICAT, Campo Grande, Lisboa, P-1749-016, Portugal (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) 2: Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, UK 3: Laboratory Plant Biotechnology, ICAT, Ed. ICAT, Campo Grande, Lisboa, P-1749-016, Portugal
Publication date: June 1, 2003