Population genetics and breeding system of Tupistra pingbianensis (Liliaceae), a naturally rare plant endemic to SW China.

Qin Qiao, Chang-Qin Zhang, Richard Milne

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The levels and partitioning of genetic diversity and inbreeding depression were investigated in Tupistra pingbianensis, a narrow endemic of southeast Yunnan, China, characterized by a naturally fragmented distribution due to extreme specialization on a rare habitat type. Here genetic diversity and patterns of genetic variation within and among 11 populations were analyzed using amplified fragment length polymorphism markers with 97 individuals across its whole geographical range. High levels of genetic variation were revealed both at the species level (P99 = 96.012%; Ht = 0.302) and at the population level (P99 = 51.41%; Hs = 0.224). Strong genetic differentiation among populations was also detected (FST = 0.2961; θII = 0.281), which corresponded to results reported for typical animal-pollinated, mixed selfing, and outcrossing plant species. This result was consistent with mating patterns detected by our pollination experiments. The indirect estimate of gene flow based on θII was low (Nm = 0.64). Special habitat and its life history traits might play an important role in shaping the genetic diversity and the genetic structure of this species. A pollination experiment also failed to detect significant inbreeding depression upon F1 fruit set, seed weight, and germinate rate fitness-traits. As a naturally rare species, T. pingbianensis is not seriously genetically impoverished and likely to have adapted to tolerating a high level of inbreeding early in its history, we propose this species need only periodic monitoring to remain viable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-57
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Systematics and Evolution
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2010


  • AFLP
  • genetic diversity
  • tupistra pingbianensis
  • naturally rare plants
  • inbreeding depression
  • genetic structure


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