Population genetic structure of three species in the genus Astrocaryum G. Mey. (Arecaceae).
We assessed the level and distribution of genetic diversity in three species of the economically important palm genus Astrocaryum located in Pará State, in northern Brazil. Samples were collected in three municipalities for Astrocaryum aculeatum: Belterra, Santarém, and Terra Santa; and in two municipalities for both A. murumuru: Belém and Santo Antônio do Tauá and A. paramaca: Belém and Ananindeua. Eight microsatellite loci amplified well and were used for genetic analysis. The mean number of alleles per locus for A. aculeatum, A. murumuru, and A. paramaca were 2.33, 2.38, and 2.06, respectively. Genetic diversity was similar for the three species, ranging from H = 0.222 in A. aculeatum to H = 0.254 in A. murumuru. Both F and AMOVA showed that most of the genetic variation was found within populations for all three species, but high genetic differentiation among populations was found for A. aculeatum. Three loci were not in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, with populations of A. paramaca showing a tendency for the excess of heterozygotes (F = -0.144). Gene flow was high for populations of A. paramaca (N = 19.35). Our results suggest that the genetic diversity within populations followed the genetic differentiation among populations due to high gene flow among the population. Greater geographic distances among the three collection sites for A. aculeatum likely hampered gene flow for this species.