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Microsatellite variation within and among populations of Oryza officinalis (Poaceae), an endangered wild rice from China



    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology, Yunnan University, Kunming 650031, Yunnan Province, China,
    2. Institute of Crop Germplasm Resources, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, No. 30 Baishiqiao Road, Beijing 100081, China,
    3. Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-5001, USA
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Li-Zhi Gao, Fax: 1(713)743 2636; E-mail:


Oryza officinalis Wall. ex Watt. is an agriculturally important but seriously endangered species of wild rice. To obtain more accurate estimates of population structure for improved conservation planning of the species, genetic variability at 14 microsatellite DNA loci was examined in population samples covering most of the species’ range in China. Considerable genetic variability (overall Na = 1.886, P = 62%, HO = 0.056, HE = 0.216, and HS = 0.277) was detected at the 14 loci in 442 individuals of the 18 natural populations. The evaluation of partitioning of genetic variability (FST = 0.442) suggested high genetic differentiation among the Chinese O. officinalis populations. An overall value of Nm = 0.316 suggested limited gene flow occurred among the sampled populations. Most of the populations showed heterozygote deficits in tests of Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium and significantly positive FIS values. This could be due to some inbreeding occurring in this predominantly outcrossing species. For effective in situ conservation and restoration genetics, maintenance of significant historical processes is particularly important, including high outbreeding, considerable gene flow, and large population effective sizes. The high FST values detected among populations in this study are instructive for adopting a conservation plan that includes representative populations with the greatest genetic variation for either in situ conservation management or germplasm collection expeditions.