The production of sunflower suffered a major decline in Mozambique after its independence in 1975. Civil war, human activities and environmental damage subjected the species to an ecological stress contributing to reduce the number and size of wild populations. As this reduction is often related to a loss of genetic variation we estimated the genetic diversity within and among populations of wild Helianthus from five districts of Mozambique using RAPD markers. The 44 accessions studied grouped into four major clusters exhibiting structured variability with regard to geographic origin. A high level of genetic diversity (He = 0.350 and I = 0.527) was retained at the population level. The genetic variation among populations was high (59.7%), which is consistent with low gene flow (Nm = 0.338). The proportion of total genetic diversity residing among these populations should be kept in mind to devise different conservation strategies in order to preserve these populations. Currently wild Helianthus genetic resources present in Maputo and Sofala are on the edge of extinction mainly due to excessive urbanization. Therefore, conservation of what remains of this plant genetic diversity is essential for sustainable utilization and can be useful for breeding programs.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 17, 2010
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