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Targeting genetic resource conservation in widespread species: a case study of Cedrela odorata L.

By S Cavers, C Navarro and AJ Lowe


Conservation of genetic resources is a recognised necessity for the long term maintenance of evolutionary potential. Effective assessment and implementation strategies are required to permit rapid evaluation and protection of resources. Here we use information from the chloroplast, total genome and quantitative characters assayed across wide-ranging populations to assess genetic resources in a Neotropical tree, Cedrela odorata. A major differentiation identified for organelle, total genomic and quantitative variation was found to coincide with an environmental gradient across Costa Rica. However, a major evolutionary divergence between the Yucatan region and Honduras/Nicaragua identified within the chloroplast genome was not differentiated using quantitative characters. Based on these and other results, a three-tiered conservation genetic prioritisation process is recommended. In order of importance, and where information is available, conservation units should be defined using quantitative (expressed genes), nuclear (genetic connectivity) and organellar (evolutionary) measures. Where possible, information from range wide and local scale studies should be combined and emphasis should be placed on coincidental disjunctions for two or more measures. However, if only rapid assessments of diversity are possible, then assessment of organelle variation provides the most cautious assessment of genetic resources, at least for C. odorata, and can be used to propose initial conservation units. When considering effective implementation of genetic resource management strategies a final tier should be considered, that of landuse/geopolitical divisions.\ud \u

Topics: Ecology and Environment
Year: 2004
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.foreco.2004.05.019
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