Echinacea laevigata (Boynton and Beadle) Blake is a federally endangered flowering plant species restricted to four states in the southeastern United States. To determine the population structure and outcrossing rate across the range of the species, we conducted AFLP analysis using four primer combinations for 22 populations. The genetic diversity of this species was high based on the level of polymorphic loci (200 of 210 loci; 95.24%) and Nei's gene diversity (ranging from 0.1398 to 0.2606; overall 0.2611). There was significant population genetic differentiation (GST = 0.294; θII = 0.218 from the Bayesian f = 0 model). Results from the AMOVA analysis suggest that a majority of the genetic variance is attributed to variation within populations (70.26%), which is also evident from the PCoA. However, 82% of individuals were assigned back to the original population based on the results of the assignment test. An isolation by distance analysis indicated that genetic differentiation among populations was a function of geographic distance, although long-distance gene dispersal between some populations was suggested from an analysis of relatedness between populations using the neighbor-joining method. An estimate of the outcrossing rate based on genotypes of progenies from six of the 22 populations using the multilocus method from the program MLTR ranged from 0.780 to 0.912, suggesting that the species is predominantly outcrossing. These results are encouraging for conservation, signifying that populations may persist due to continued genetic exchange sustained by the outcrossing mating system of the species.
- Echinacea laevigata
- Genetic structure
- Outcrossing rate
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics