Plant Diversity ›› 2016, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (05): 221-226.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2016.07.002

• Articles • Previous Articles    

High regional genetic differentiation of an endangered relict plant Craigia yunnanensis and implications for its conservation

Jing Yanga, Zerui Gaob, Weibang Suna, Changqin Zhangc   

  1. a. Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650201, Yunnan, China;
    b. Yunnan Tobacco Industrial Hi-tech Material CO., LTD, Kunming, 650106, Yunnan, China;
    c. Kunming Botanical Garden, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650201, Yunnan, China
  • Received:2016-05-10 Revised:2016-07-25 Published:2021-11-05
  • Contact: Changqin Zhang
  • Supported by:
    This study was funded by the National Science Foundation of China (NSFCU1302262), and the Department of Forestry of Yunnan Province, project name “Rescue and conservation of PSESP species Craigia yunnanensis”. It was also supported by the Science and Technology Research Program of Kunming Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KIB2016005).

Abstract: Of the genus Craigia, widespread in the Tertiary, only two relict species survived to modern times. One species is now possibly extinct and the other one, Craigia yunnanensis, is severely endangered. Extensive surveys have located six C. yunnanensis populations in Yunnan province, southwest China. Using fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), the genetic diversity and population structure of these populations were examined. It was found that genetic diversity of C. yunnanensis was moderate at the species level, but low at regional and population levels. Analysis of population structure showed significant genetic differentiation between Wenshan and Dehong regions, apparently representing two geographically isolated for long time refuges. There are also clear indications of isolation between populations, which, together with anthropogenically caused decline of population size, will lead to general loss of the species genetic variation with subsequent loss of adaptive potential. To conserve the genetic integrity of C. yunnanensis, we recommend that ex-situ conservation should include representative samples from every population of the two differentiated regions (e.g. Wenshan and Dehong). The crosses between individuals originated from different regions should be avoided because of a high risk of outbreeding depression. As all the extant populations of C. yunnanensis are in unprotected areas with strong anthropogenic impact, there is no alternative to reintroduction of C. yunnanensis into suitable protected locations.

Key words: Craigia yunnanensis, Isolation, AFLP, Genetic diversity, Population genetic structure, Conservation genetics