Patterns of genetic variation in in and ex situ populations of the threatened Chilean vine Berberidopsis corallina, detected using RAPD markers

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Annals of Botany


Berberidopsis corallina Hook. f. (Berberidopsidaceae) is a threatened vine, endemic to the temperate rainforests of southern Chile. A RAPD analysis was carried out to assess the extent of genetic variation in remaining wild populations and in British cultivated plants, to assess the value of the latter for ex situ conservation. A total of 90 individuals (54 wild, 35 cultivated) were analysed, and a total of 54 polymorphic bands produced. A pairwise distance measure calculated from the RAPD data was used as input for principal coordinate analysis (PCO) and analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA). AMOVA indicated that an exceptionally high proportion of total genetic variation (54.8%) was recorded among populations; pairwise Phi (ST) comparisons showed that all the populations examined were significantly (P < 0.002) different. PCO analysis highlighted clear differentiation between wild populations from the north and south of the natural range, further supported by a UPGMA dendrogram based on RAPD distances. Analysis of the extent of generic variation within ex situ populations indicated that the variation within plants cultivated within Britain is comparable to that recorded in small natural populations; however, cluster and UPGMA analyses suggested that only populations from the northern part of the natural range of the species are represented in cultivation. These results are interpreted in the context of the recent biogeographical history of the area, and their implications for the development of iii situ and es situ conservation strategies for B. corallina are discussed. (C) 2001 Annals of Botany Company.

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