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Genetic Diversity of the Endangered Endemic Agave victoriae-reginae (Agavaceae) in the Chihuahuan Desert

Alejandro Martinez-Palacios, Luis E. Eguiarte and Glenn R. Furnier
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 86, No. 8 (Aug., 1999), pp. 1093-1098
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2656971
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Genetic Diversity of the Endangered Endemic Agave victoriae-reginae (Agavaceae) in the Chihuahuan Desert
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Abstract

Long-lived perennials are a species-rich, ecologically important component of the North American deserts, yet we know little about their genetic structure, information important for their conservation. Agave victoriae-reginae is an endemic of the Chihuahuan Desert of northern Mexico that is endangered by collection for the ornamental trade. We examined levels and patterns of variation at ten polymorphic allozyme loci in ten populations representing the range of the species. Levels of genetic variation (mean He=0.335) and differentiation (mean FST = 0.236) were high. Phenetic clustering suggested the existence of at least three distinct groups of populations. If this pattern of variation is representative of other long-lived desert perennials, it may explain the species richness of this group and will pose a real challenge to gene conservation efforts.

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