• AFLPs;
  • conservation genetics;
  • endangered species;
  • genetic variation;
  • Limonium;
  • population structure

Limonium dufourii (Plumbaginaceae) is a triploid species with obligate apomictic reproduction and is endemic to the East Mediterranean coast of Spain, where it is present in only six populations, most of which have a very low number of individuals. Genetic variation and population structure in this species was studied using amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) as markers, using the same individuals as in a previous study with random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD). Three different primers provided 252 bands of which 51 were polymorphic among the 152 individuals analysed. Those polymorphic bands were able to define 65 different phenotypes, of which all but two were present in only one population. The comparative analyses of data from AFLPs with those from RAPDs show a high degree of concordance. Additionally, and given the nature of these markers, we propose the estimation of nucleotide divergences from AFLP patterns. Relationships among the different AFLP patterns and the estimates of population genetic parameters obtained with this evolutionary distance are in good agreement with previous results. These analyses show that substantial genetic variability and differentiation exist within and among populations of L. dufourii. Their higher reproducibility and the possibility of obtaining estimates of nucleotide divergence make AFLPs a much better DNA fingerprinting technique.