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Genetic Structure, Diversity and Long Term Viability of a Medicinal Plant, Nothapodytes nimmoniana Graham. (Icacinaceae), in Protected and Non-Protected Areas in the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot


Genetic Structure, Diversity and Long Term Viability of a Medicinal Plant, Nothapodytes nimmoniana Graham. (Icacinaceae), in Protected and Non-Protected Areas in the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot

Anil, Arga C., Shivaprakash, K. Nagaraju, Ramesha, B. Thimmappa, Uma Shaanker, Ramanan, Dayanandan, Selvadurai and Ravikanth, Gudasalamani (2014) Genetic Structure, Diversity and Long Term Viability of a Medicinal Plant, Nothapodytes nimmoniana Graham. (Icacinaceae), in Protected and Non-Protected Areas in the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot. PLoS ONE, 9 (12). e112769. ISSN 1932-6203

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0112769


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.


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.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Biology
Item Type:Article
Authors:Anil, Arga C. and Shivaprakash, K. Nagaraju and Ramesha, B. Thimmappa and Uma Shaanker, Ramanan and Dayanandan, Selvadurai and Ravikanth, Gudasalamani
Journal or Publication:PLoS ONE
  • Concordia Open Access Author Fund
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1371/journal.pone.0112769
ID Code:982233
Deposited By: Danielle Dennie
Deposited On:17 Mar 2017 19:45
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:54


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