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Assessment of genetic variation in Sicilian Helichysum (Astaraceae) and implication to germoplasm conservation

  • Publication year: 2008
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • Key words: AFLP, genetic variation, Sicilian Helichrysum , Asteraceae , germplasm conservation, genebank
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Some taxa of Sicilian Helichrysum related to sect. Stoeachadina have an uncertain systematic position; moreover, they are rare and endangered. In order to preserve these taxa in a genebank, a strategy to keep their genetic variation as high as possible is required. The high informative content of AFLP markers was used to assess genetic variations within and between populations and their relationships. The results show that all populations are genetically similar, even though there are two distinct groups: the first is the population referred to H. pendulum, and the second is represented by other populations belonging to several different specific and intraspecific taxa. The H. pendulum population is homogeneous, and characterised by the lowest genetic variation among all the populations considered. The second group shows a greater variation as evidenced by the presence of three subgroups: (i) populations referred to H. panormitanum var. panormitanum and H. panormitanum var. stramineum, (ii) populations referred to H. errerae var. errerae and H. errerae var. messerii, (iii) a population referred to H. hyblaeum, which, despite morphological and chorological differences, is similar to the other populations of the second group from a genetic stand point. Each population of the above-mentioned taxa has local fragment markers whose frequency is useful to determine how many plants should be sampled in order to collect the seeds necessary to preserve the population''s genetic diversity in a genebank.