Patterns of Genetic Diversity and Structure at Fine Scale of an Endangered Moroccan Endemic Tree (Argania spinosa L. Skeels) Based on ISSR Polymorphism
The preservation of the diversity of endangered populations of argan trees, in their natural habitat, is a crucial step toward their conservation. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the genetic diversity of the argan trees in the wild, and to establish a phylogenetic map using DNA fingerprints. The ultimate goal was to develop a core set that would represent the existing diversity in the whole germplasm. In regard to this, 200 samples of Argania spinosa individual trees were collected from 10 different provenances in the region of Essaouira (Morocco). The genetic variation between and within these argan trees was investigated using previously described Inter-Simple Sequence Repeat markers. These markers generated a total of 149 fragments, in which 148 (99.33%) were polymorphic. The samples collected in the 'Ouled Lhaj' provenance showed the lowest diversity (% of polymorphic locus P=48.32%; genetic diversity Nei h=0.153; allelic richness A=1.483), compared to those collected in the 'Mramer' provenance (%P=68.46%; h=0.233; A=1.685). Also, the results showed a high level of genetic differentiation among provenances (AMOVA=44%, Gst=0.40), and a limited gene flow (Nm=0.73) between the provenances. In addition, these data suggested a low correlation between the genetic diversity of the tree and their respective geographical location in relation to the proximity to the littoral. Finally, a core collection of 13 genotypes that represent the essential of the detected diversity was established. The distribution pattern of this genetic diversity provides an important baseline data for the conservation strategies of argan tree species in the wild.
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