Research Article

Acrocomia emensis (Arecaceae) genetic structure and diversity using SSR molecular markers

Published: March 24, 2016
Genet. Mol. Res. 15(1): gmr7785 DOI: 10.4238/gmr.15017785

Abstract

Acrocomia emensis, popularly known as the creeping tucum, belongs to the family Arecaceae, and is an oilseed specie of the Brazilian Savannah. The expansion of agricultural activity has rapidly destroyed its natural habitat, leading to a decrease in its population size. Genetic studies can be used to investigate the genetic variability, and may assist with the charting future conservation strategies. In this study the genetic diversity and structure of 150 individuals sampled in three locations in Minas Gerais were analysed, based on the transferability of six microsatellite markers, previously developed for A. aculeata. The results indicate that the populations studied have low levels of genetic variability (Ho = 0.148) and high, positive and significant inbreeding coefficient, indicating an excess of homozygotes. The average heterozygosity within the population (Hs = 0.700) accounted for 95.03% of the total genetic diversity, indicating that there is greater variability within population than between them, consistent with low genetic differentiation between population (GST = 0.046). Bayesian analysis identified three distinct groups; however, populations shared large numbers of alleles, which can be explained by the reduced distance between populations. These results reveal the need to implement genetic conservation programs for the maintenance of this species and to prioritize population from Bonito and Brasília, which showed the lowest values of genetic diversity.

Acrocomia emensis, popularly known as the creeping tucum, belongs to the family Arecaceae, and is an oilseed specie of the Brazilian Savannah. The expansion of agricultural activity has rapidly destroyed its natural habitat, leading to a decrease in its population size. Genetic studies can be used to investigate the genetic variability, and may assist with the charting future conservation strategies. In this study the genetic diversity and structure of 150 individuals sampled in three locations in Minas Gerais were analysed, based on the transferability of six microsatellite markers, previously developed for A. aculeata. The results indicate that the populations studied have low levels of genetic variability (Ho = 0.148) and high, positive and significant inbreeding coefficient, indicating an excess of homozygotes. The average heterozygosity within the population (Hs = 0.700) accounted for 95.03% of the total genetic diversity, indicating that there is greater variability within population than between them, consistent with low genetic differentiation between population (GST = 0.046). Bayesian analysis identified three distinct groups; however, populations shared large numbers of alleles, which can be explained by the reduced distance between populations. These results reveal the need to implement genetic conservation programs for the maintenance of this species and to prioritize population from Bonito and Brasília, which showed the lowest values of genetic diversity.