Warburgia ugandensis Sprague (Canellaceae) occurs in East and Central Africa and is an important multipurpose tree species. Over-exploitation of natural forests for medicinal purposes and clearance for farming threaten the species survival. Cultivation of the tree species would ensure sustainable medicinal source and its conservation. However, on-farm genetic diversity of the species is currently unknown. The genetic diversity of the on-farm W. ugandensis populations and their proximate natural populations were analyzed using the amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP). Four primer combinations produced a total of 223 polymorphic bands. Both the natural and on-farm populations had high genetic diversity ranging from H = 0.2892 to H = 0.1278. Principal co-ordinates analysis and dendrogram separated the ten populations into two major groups corresponding to Kenyan and Tanzanian populations, respectively. Ugandan populations were shared between the two major groups; this is probably because Uganda is believed to be the centre of diversity for W. ugandensis. Close genetic relationships between the on-farm and their proximate natural population were revealed. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed that a total of 54% AFLP variation resided within populations with 46% reside among populations. The high genetic diversity of W. ugandensis on-farm populations could be useful in germplasm collection and conservation strategies.
Key words: Warburgia ugandensis, amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), domestication, genetic diversity, on-farm, natural.
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