Fagus grandifolia var. mexicana (Fagaceae) is a Mexican endemic tree, currently threatened with extinction. In order to assess the level and structure of genetic variation in four remaining populations, leaf samples were analysed using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and cpDNA PCR-RFLP markers. A sample of the more widespread congener, F. grandifolia var. grandifolia from the USA was also analysed for comparison. Thirty-three polymorphic RAPD bands were produced using 18 10-mer primers. AMOVA of RAPD data indicated significant (P < 0.002) population differentiation, with 15.6% of variation recorded between Mexican populations. PCR-RFLP analysis enabled three cpDNA haplotypes to be identified, denoted types A, B, and C. Types A and B were each restricted to an individual Mexican population, whereas Type C was fixed for two Mexican populations, and the population from the USA. Within-population genetic variation, quantified as percentage polymorphic bands, Shannon's Diversity Index and Nei's gene diversity measure, was found to be lower in Mexican populations than in that from the USA, and was positively related to population size. These results suggest that an unexpectedly high degree of genetic variation exists within Mexican beech, and this variation should be considered in developing the conservation strategy that is urgently required if extinction of this taxon is to be prevented.
Field of Research
060499 Genetics not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
970107 Expanding Knowledge in the Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
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