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Genetic diversity of an endangered plant, Cypripedium macranthos var. rebunense (Orchidaceae): background genetic research for future conservation

Izawa, Takeshi, Kawahara, Takayuki, Takahashi, Hideki
Conservation genetics 2007 v.8 no.6 pp. 1369-1376
Cypripedium, adverse effects, alleles, allozymes, conservation programs, endangered species, genetic background, genetic drift, genetic variation, habitats, homozygosity, inbreeding depression, indigenous species, Japan
Cypripedium macranthos var. rebunense is an endangered plant endemic to Rebun Island, Japan. A proper understanding of genetic diversity is needed when conducting conservation programs for rare and endangered species. We therefore examined the genetic diversity of C. macranthos var. rebunense using allozyme markers with a view to future conservation. Our study revealed that C. macranthos var. rebunense has relatively high genetic diversity (P was 0.62, n a and n e were 1.85 and 1.28 respectively, and H o and H e were 0.163 and 0.187, respectively) when compared with other plant taxa. The natural habitats of C. macranthos var. rebunense are geographically separated into northern and the southern populations. Disappearance of alleles and increase in homozygosity expected as a result of the bottleneck effect were observed, particularly in the southern populations composed of a small number of plants. As additional negative effects (inbreeding depression and further genetic drift) due to fragmentation are predicted in these populations, the southern populations may show deterioration of genetic diversity in the near future.