Leucopogon obtectus Benth. is a declared rare species found in the kwongan vegetation in Western Australia. Plants on a mineral sand mine and the rehabilitation area are subject to disturbance. Genetic diversity was examined within and among all known populations using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) for conservation. Both molecular markers revealed a high percentage (> 89%) of polymorphic markers and a high mean genetic distance among individuals (D = 0.3). Analysis of molecular variance showed that 86.7% (RAPD) and 89.7% (AFLP) of variability was partitioned among individuals within populations. Exact tests showed no significant population differentiation. The analyses indicated that L. obtectus exhibits high levels of genetic diversity despite small population sizes. The high levels of variability among individuals and the lack of clear population differentiation suggest that this species comprises a single, genetically diverse group. Conservation and management of L. obtectus should concentrate on maintaining the high levels of genetic variability through mixing genotypes and promoting outcrossing.
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