Genetic Variation in Some Natural Populations of Prunus africana (Hook.F) Kalkman (Rosaceae) from Ethiopia as Revealed by Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD)

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Addis Ababa University


Prunus africana (Hook.f.) Kalkman (Rosaceae) is a multipurpose Afromontane tree species which is threatened by over-exploitation and habitat destruction in a number of African countries, including Ethiopia. As a result, there is a growing concern of conservation and sustainable utilization of the species. Understanding of the patterns of variation within and among populations of the species is a prerequisite for devising optimum management strategies for its conservation and sustainable utilization. Here, random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis was used to assess the extent of genetic variation and the partition of within and among six populations of P. africana sampled from six different geographical regions of Ethiopia. From the total number of amplified loci, 82.3% revealed to be polymorphic for the whole data set. The within population diversity estimated by Nei’s gene diversity estimates ranged from 0.307 for Tepi to 0.150 to Bulki, with a mean of 0.234. Genetic differentiation between populations was estimated with Nei’s GST (0.262) and AMOVA based FST (0.257; P<0.00001), which appears to be slightly higher than the values obtained from various RAPD based studies on outcrossing and long-lived species. Both GST and AMOVA derived FST revealed higher proportion of variation within populations (74%) relative to the amount of variation among populations (26%). Nei’s genetic distance estimated between pair of populations ranged from 0.061 (between Agere Mariam and Lepisi) to 0.213 (between Chilimo and Agere Mariam), with the mean of 0.147 among the six populations. Genetic relationships among the populations examined by UPGMA cluster analysis based on Nei’s genetic distance separated the six populations into two primary clusters which some what reflects their geographical locations: one composed of Agere Mariam, Lepisi, Bulki and Tepi, and the other composed of Bedele and Chilimo. The Bulki and Tepi populations were further separated from the Agere Mariam and Lepisi populations within the first cluster. The results of the present study suggest that the Tepi, Lepisi and Chilimo populations have higher genetic variability and need to be given priority for both in situ and ex situ conservation. Those of Agere Mariam, Bedele and Bulki populations should also be conserved as they may have some unique genes. Key words: Prunus africana, RAPD, population, conservation, Ethiopia



Prunus africana, RAPD, population, conservation, Ethiopia