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Article

Increased Genetic Diversity via Gene Flow Provides Hope for Acacia whibleyana, an Endangered Wattle Facing Extinction

1
School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, SA 5005, Australia
2
Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) Genetic Composition Working Group, 04103 Leipzig, Germany
3
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University, Uppsala 753 41, Sweden
4
Northern Territory Herbarium, Palmerston, NT 0831, Australia
5
Environment Institute, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, SA 5005, Australia
6
College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University, Bedford Park, SA 5042, Australia
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(8), 299; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12080299
Received: 29 June 2020 / Revised: 23 July 2020 / Accepted: 24 July 2020 / Published: 30 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation of Native Plants)
In this paper we apply a conservation genomics approach to make evidence-based management recommendations for Acacia whibleyana, an endangered shrub endemic to Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. We used population genomic analysis to assess genetic connectivity, diversity, and historical inbreeding across all known stands of the species sampling remnant stands, revegetated stands of unknown origin, and a post-fire seedling cohort. Our results indicate a degree of historical connectivity across the landscape, but habitat loss and/or pollinator community disruption are potential causes of strong genetic structure across the remnant stands. Remnant stands had low genetic diversity and showed evidence of historical inbreeding, but only low levels of intra-stand relatedness indicating that risks of contemporary inbreeding are low. Analysis of a post-fire first generation cohort of seedlings showed they likely resulted from intra-stand matings, resulting in reduced genetic diversity compared to the parents. However, admixed seedlings in this cohort showed an increase in heterozygosity relative to likely sources and the non-admixed seedlings of the same stand. Assisted inter-stand gene flow may prove an effective management strategy to boost heterozygosity and corresponding increases in adapting capacity in this endangered species. View Full-Text
Keywords: conservation genetics; endangered species; genetic diversity conservation genetics; endangered species; genetic diversity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Blyth, C.; Christmas, M.J.; Bickerton, D.C.; Faast, R.; Packer, J.G.; Lowe, A.J.; Breed, M.F. Increased Genetic Diversity via Gene Flow Provides Hope for Acacia whibleyana, an Endangered Wattle Facing Extinction. Diversity 2020, 12, 299. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12080299

AMA Style

Blyth C, Christmas MJ, Bickerton DC, Faast R, Packer JG, Lowe AJ, Breed MF. Increased Genetic Diversity via Gene Flow Provides Hope for Acacia whibleyana, an Endangered Wattle Facing Extinction. Diversity. 2020; 12(8):299. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12080299

Chicago/Turabian Style

Blyth, Colette, Matthew J. Christmas, Doug C. Bickerton, Renate Faast, Jasmin G. Packer, Andrew J. Lowe, and Martin F. Breed 2020. "Increased Genetic Diversity via Gene Flow Provides Hope for Acacia whibleyana, an Endangered Wattle Facing Extinction" Diversity 12, no. 8: 299. https://doi.org/10.3390/d12080299

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