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Peñas J, Barrios S, Bobo-Pinilla J, Lorite J, Martínez-Ortega MM. (2015) Designing conservation strategies to preserve the genetic diversity of Astragalus edulis Bunge, an endangered species from western Mediterranean region. PeerJ PrePrints3:e1496v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.1496v1
Astragalus edulis (Fabaceae) is an endangered annual species from western Mediterranean region that colonized SE Iberian Peninsula, NE and SW Morocco, and the easternmost Macaronesian islands (Lanzarote and Fuerteventura). Although in Spain some conservation measures have been adopted, it is still necessary to develop an appropriate management plan to preserve genetic diversity across the entire distribution area of the species. Our main objective was to use population genetics as well as ecological and phylogeographic data to select Relevant Genetic Units for Conservation (RGUCs) as the first step in designing conservation plans for A. edulis. We identified six RGUCs for in situ conservation, based on estimations of population genetic structure and probabilities of the loss of rare alleles. Additionally, further population parameters, i.e. occupation area, population size, vulnerability, legal status of the population areas, and the historical haplotype distribution, were considered in order to establish which populations deserve conservation priority. Three populations from the Iberian Peninsula, two from Morocco, and one from the Canary Islands represent the total genetic diversity of the species and the rarest allelic variation. Ex situ conservation is recommended to complement the preservation of A. edulis, given that effective in situ population protection is not feasible in all cases. The consideration of complementary phylogeographic and ecological data is useful for management efforts to preserve the evolutionary potential of the species.
This is a revised submission to PeerJ.
Appendix 1. Probabilities of loss of rare alleles when all populations of Astragalus edulis are considered as one single management unit and preferred sampling area.
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