Research Paper

Genetic diversity of Begonia versicolor (Begoniaceae), a narrow endemic species in southeast Yunnan of China

Chun Li, Jun-Lin Chen, Yong-Yong Li and Dai-Ke Tian

Published on: 12 March 2018

DOI: 10.6165/tai.2018.63.49

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2018 vol.63 no.1 pp.49-53


Begonia versicolor Irmscher, a narrow endemic Begonia species in southeast Yunnan of China, is a wonderful ornamental plant with huge diversity in colored foliage. To investigate its variations, the genetic diversity and population structure were studied based on 56 individuals sampled from four localities using 12 polymorphic microsatellite loci transferred from other species of Begonia. The results showed a relatively low level of genetic diversity in B. versicolor comparing with other species of Begonia using microsatellite. Positive inbreeding coefficient (FIS) values were found in three populations (SWC, XPZ and DSD). AMOVA analysis indicated that genetic variations occurred mainly within populations (55.9%) rather than among populations (9.7%) and among groups (34.4%). Four populations were grouped into two clusters based on STRUCTURE. AMOVA and STRUCTURE analysis showed a high level and significant genetic differentiation in the populations of B. versicolor. Based on its genetic status and rarity in the wild, the sustainable in-situ and ex-situ conservation strategies should be urgently carried out to protect this species with high horticultural and scientific values.

Keyword: Begonia versicolor, Conservation strategies, Genetics diversity, Population structure, Yunnan