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PLoS One ; 9(12): e112769, 2014.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25493426


BACKGROUND AND QUESTION: The harvesting of medicinal plants from wild sources is escalating in many parts of the world, compromising the long-term survival of natural populations of medicinally important plants and sustainability of sources of raw material to meet pharmaceutical industry needs. Although protected areas are considered to play a central role in conservation of plant genetic resources, the effectiveness of protected areas for maintaining medicinal plant populations subject to intense harvesting pressure remain largely unknown. We conducted genetic and demographic studies of Nothapodytes nimmoniana Graham, one of the extensively harvested medicinal plant species in the Western Ghats biodiversity hotspot, India to assess the effectiveness of protected areas in long-term maintenance of economically important plant species. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The analysis of adults and seedlings of N. nimmoniana in four protected and four non-protected areas using 7 nuclear microsatellite loci revealed that populations that are distributed within protected areas are subject to lower levels of harvesting and maintain higher genetic diversity (He = 0.816, Ho = 0.607, A = 18.857) than populations in adjoining non-protected areas (He = 0.781, Ho = 0.511, A = 15.571). Furthermore, seedlings in protected areas had significantly higher observed heterozygosity (Ho = 0.630) and private alleles as compared to seedlings in adjoining non-protected areas (Ho = 0.426). Most populations revealed signatures of recent genetic bottleneck. The prediction of long-term maintenance of genetic diversity using BOTTLESIM indicated that current population sizes of the species are not sufficient to maintain 90% of present genetic diversity for next 100 years. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Overall, these results highlight the need for establishing more protected areas encompassing a large number of adult plants in the Western Ghats to conserve genetic diversity of economically and medicinally important plant species.

Magnoliopsida/genética , Agricultura , Alelos , Teorema de Bayes , Biodiversidade , Evolução Biológica , Análise por Conglomerados , Simulação por Computador , Conservação dos Recursos Naturais , Carga Genética , Variação Genética , Heterozigoto , Índia , Repetições de Microssatélites , Modelos Genéticos , Plantas Medicinais/genética , Densidade Demográfica , Plântula/genética