Journal Article

The Genetic Structure of the Remnant Populations of <i>Centaurea horrida</i> in Sardinia and Associated Islands

Giulia Mameli, Rossella Filigheddu, Giorgio Binelli and Marilena Meloni

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 101, issue 5, pages 633-640
Published in print April 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online February 2008 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
The Genetic Structure of the Remnant Populations of Centaurea horrida in Sardinia and Associated Islands

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Background and Aims

The Mediterranean region is of prime importance to biodiversity at a global level, mainly due to the abundance of endemic plant species. However, information about these species is still scarce, especially at the genetic level. In this paper the first assessment is reported of the genetic structure of Centaurea horrida (Asteraceae), an endemic, sea-cliff-dwelling plant from Sardinia.


The study was conducted on seven populations covering the entire natural range of the species by means of SSR (microsatellite) markers.

Key Results

A considerable amount of genetic variation was found (average He = 0·603–0·854), together with a medium-high differentiation among populations, as estimated both by FST (0·123) and RST (0·158). Both Bayesian analysis and AMOVA were employed to detect genetic structuring in this species. The results suggest that the origins of the current populations of C. horrida lie in two gene pools.


Despite the restricted range, C. horrida displays high levels of genetic diversity, structured in such a way that three management units could be deemed viable for its conservation. The protected status of the species will probably suffice to prevent the impoverishment of its genetic resources.

Keywords: Genetic diversity; Centaurea horrida; endangered species; narrow endemic; conservation; Mediterranean; Sardinia

Journal Article.  5612 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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