Research Article

Chloroplast diversity of Casearia grandiflora in the Cerrado of Piauí State.

Abstract

Casearia grandiflora (Salicaceae) is a typical Cerrado species adapted to disturbed environments, making it useful for restoration projects. Knowledge of genetic diversity is important for establishing conservation strategies for this species. This study aimed to compare chloroplast haplotype diversity and structure of C. grandiflora, under the assumption that protected areas hold greater genetic diversity than disturbed areas. The populations studied are from Parque Nacional de Sete Cidades Conservation Unit and from the surroundings of the city of Cocal de Telha, both located in the State of Piauí. Molecular analyses were performed with seven chloroplast microsatellite loci. The number of private haplotypes and haplotype diversity were higher in the conservation unit, which reinforces the importance of these areas in maintaining biodiversity. Analysis of molecular variance showed that most of the genetic variation is found within populations, with a moderate divergence between them (F = 0.14). The Bayesian analysis and discriminant analysis of principal components suggested that populations are not structured, revealing that a set of individuals from Parque Nacional de Sete Cidades were more divergent within populations than between them. Since literature has little information on C. grandiflora, the results of this study provide important contribution to a better understanding of the specie's genetic diversity.

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