Population genetics of braun's rockcress (boechera perstellata, brassicaceae), an endangered plant with a disjunct distribution


Boechera perstellata is an endangered plant found only in middle Tennessee and north central Kentucky. After sampling 4 Tennessee and 3 Kentucky populations, genetic variability and population structure were examined for this species using isozymes, chloroplast DNA, and microsatellites (averaging 35, 29, and 27 individuals per population per class of marker, respectively). The only genetic variability detected for 23 isozymes was a fixed difference between Tennessee and Kentucky populations at 1 locus. Fixed differences between populations of the 2 states were also observed for 3 chloroplast markers. Polymorphism at 19 nuclear microsatellites was 74% at the species level and averaged 21% at the population level. However, observed heterozygosity was extremely low in all populations, ranging from 0.000 to 0.005. High F IS values (0.93) suggest that Boechera perstellata is a primarily selfing species. Tennessee populations have more genetic diversity than Kentucky populations of B. perstellata. Microsatellite markers revealed substantial genetic divergence between the states and genetic differences among populations within each state. Analysis of molecular variance indicates that most variability in this species occurs between the 2 states (49%) and among populations within each state (42%), with relatively little variation found within populations (9%). These data indicate that there is very little gene flow among populations of B. perstellata and that it is important to protect as many populations as possible in order to conserve the genetic diversity of this rare species. © The American Genetic Association 2013.

Publication Title

Journal of Heredity