Nuclear genetic variation of Rosa odorata var. gigantea (Rosaceae): population structure and conservation implications

Rosa odorata var. gigantea is one of the most important ancestors of modern roses, which owns many merit traits including large flower, early flowering, and tea scent. Due to habitat loss and fragmentation, it has been listed as a rare and endangered species in China. In this study, a total of 424 accessions from 27 locations across its major distribution range were sampled. Its genetic diversity and population structure were assessed using a combination of seven nuclear microsatellite markers and one single-copy nuclear gene. Moderate to high within-population genetic diversity and moderate differentiation among populations were revealed despite its narrow distribution. The sampled 27 populations were resolved into two genetic clusters with limited contemporary and historical gene flows. The Red River Fault Zone was inferred to be a physical or geographical barrier to gene flow between these two genetic clusters. Genetic distances were significantly associated with geographic distances, indicating the isolation-by-distance model. Our ecological niche modeling indicated that R. odorata var. gigantea had high current potential areas in the central Yunnan province and substantial losses of high potential distribution areas in the western Yunnan in the future. Two detected clusters showed significant genetic differentiation and represented two separate evolutionary lineages, which should be recognized as two evolutionary significant units (ESUs) for conservation concerns. These results could be applied for the decision-making and conservation planning for this important species.
Category: Genetic diversity
Authors: Meng, J., et al.
Journal/Series: Tree Genetics & Genomes
Publication Year: 2016

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