Lack of genetic variability in the rare and endangered Limonium cavanillesii (Plumbaginaceae) using RAPD markers


Dr Fernando González Candelas Tel.: + 34-6386-4505; Fax: + 34-6398-3029. E-mail:


Limonium cavanillesii is an extremely endangered plant species endemic to the east Mediterranean region of Spain. Regarded as extinct for several years, the recent discovery of a small population (only 29 individuals) has prompted the adoption of measures for its conservation by official agencies. As part of this effort, we have analysed genetic variation in this population by means of random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPDs). The analysis of 29 individuals with 11 different primers produced 131 monomorphic bands. To our knowledge, this is the lowest level of genetic variation detected in plants using RAPD markers. This result could be explained both by the apomictic reproductive system of this species and by the passage through a severe bottleneck in recent times, after which there has been no chance for mutation to restore detectable genetic variation.