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Structure and genetic diversity of Anacardium humile (Anacardiaceae): a tropical shrub

Author(s): L.G. Cota, P.A. Moreira, M.M. Brandão, V.A. Royo, A.F. Melo Junior, E.V. Menezes and D.A. Oliveira

Anacardium humile Saint Hilaire is a tropical shrub native to the Cerrado biome. It is a fruiting species with biological, medicinal, and socioeconomic significance. Thus, knowing how the genetic variability of natural populations is organized allows for the establishment of strategies for conservation and the sustainable use of the species and its biome. Six microsatellite loci previously developed from Anacardium occidentale were used to investigate the spatial genetic structure and genetic diversity of eight natural A. humile populations based on analyses of 242 adult plants. The results obtained indicate that these populations show a high level of genetic diversity (expected heterozygosity = 0.710). The endogamy coefficient was positive and significant for most populations, with a mean of 0.142 (P = 0.001). The genetic differentiation between populations was low (θ = 0.075 and GST = 0.066) but significant (P = 0.0001). The genotypes of five of the eight populations were non-randomly distributed with clusters of related plants for which the coancestry values were positive and significant. These populations exhibited high and significant endogamy indices. The results obtained for A. humile populations show that genetic conservation programs should be implemented to maintain this species.