Analysis of population genetic structure and variability using RAPD markers in the endemic and endangered Limonium dufourii (Plumbaginaceae)


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


Limonium dufourii (Plumbaginaceae) is a triploid species, with apomictic reproduction, endemic to the east mediterranean coast of Spain, where it is present in only six populations with a few individuals in most of them. L. dufourii is included in the Red List of Endangered Species by the IUCN. Genetic variation and population structure in this species has been studied using RAPDs. Twelve different primers provided 124 reliable bands of which 33 were polymorphic among the 165 individuals analysed. Those polymorphic bands were able to define 44 different patterns, of which all but six were present in only one population. Several methods for statistical evaluation have been used for intra- and interpopulation analysis of genetic variability. Relationships among patterns have led to the identification of four main clusters. Two of them show a perfect correspondence to the population of origin of those individuals that present them (Cullera and Torreblanca), and the other two (Groups A and B) include patterns found in individuals coexisting in the same populations (Marjal del Moro populations) and in El Saler. Most of the variation found in this species is due to differences among populations as shown by the analysis of molecular variance. This agrees with the expectation for an apomictic species such as L. dufourii. The analysis of homogeneity of variance shows that substantial differences in the amount of genetic variability present in the six populations exist. These results have been used to understand the evolutionary and demographic history of L. dufourii, which is a requisite in order to establish efficient conservation measures for this species.