Low within-population genetic diversity and high genetic differentiation among populations of the endangered plant Tetracentron sinense Oliver revealed by inter-simple sequence repeat analysis

Tetracentron sinense Oliver, an endangered species from China, displays a low within-population genetic diversity and high genetic differentiation among populations, and the existing populations could be divided into three conservation and management units.

Context The endangered tree Tetracentron sinense Oliver has great value; however, little is known regarding the within-population genetic diversity and differentiation among T. sinense populations.
Aims We examined the genetic diversity and differentiation of T. sinense wild populations, and we tested the effect of small-size population on the level of genetic diversity within these populations.
Methods Using inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR), we assessed the genetic variation and structure among 174 individuals from 26 natural populations of T. sinense sampled across its distribution range in China.
Results The ISSR primers yielded 180 amplified loci (123 were polymorphic). At the species level, the percentage of polymorphic loci (PPL), Nei’s gene diversity (H), and Shannon’s information index (I) were 68.3%, 0.196 and 0.300, respectively. The average population level PPL was 20.0%, and the Na, Ne, H, and I were 1.20, 1.13, 0.076, and 0.112, respectively. AMOVA revealed high genetic differentiation among populations (52.0% of total variance, P = 0.001), consistent with the gene differentiation coefficient (Gst = 0.607) and gene flow (Nm = 0.326). The 174 individuals of the 26 T. sinense populations clustered into three groups, and T. sinense geographic and genetic distance were significantly correlated.
Conclusions T. sinense exhibited intermediate within-species genetic diversity, indicating preserved evolutionary potential. The low within-population genetic diversity and high genetic differentiation among T. sinense populations may be one of important factors causing endangerment. Three conservation units were determined based on genetic difference and structure. Inter-population introduction of individuals within units via appropriate propagation and seedling management might be an effective strategy for increasing T. sinense within-population genetic diversity and population size.

Tetracentron sinense Oliver, Genetic variation, Genetic structure, Molecular marker, ISSR, Conservation strategy, China

Li, S., Gan, X., Han, H. et al. Annals of Forest Science (2018) 75: 74.

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Data availability
The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are available in the GitHub repository, https://github.com/bhgan/Low-within-population-genetic-diversity-and-high-genetic-differentiation-among-populations-of-the-en [accessed 21 June 2018] or from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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