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Conservation of Acacia tortilis subsp. raddiana Populations in Southern Sinai, Egypt I- Genetic Diversity and Structure

By walaa on June 15,2008


 Mohamed S. Zaghloul, James L. Hamrick, and Abd El-Raouf A. Moustafa 


      Acacia tortilis (Fabaceae) provides food and shelter for desert animals and is a major source of livestockfood and firewood for the native Bedouin people in Southern Sinai, Egypt. High mortality of establishedindividuals and low juvenile recruitment has been reported in recent years. As a result, this once commontree has experienced local extinction and is now a species of conservation concern in the region. Sixteenallozyme loci were used to examine regional genetic diversity within and among twelve naturalpopulations of A. tortilis selected to represent its geographic range in two large wadis in Southern Sinai,Egypt. The results showed that regional genetic diversity for A. tortilis (He = 0.213) is high compared notonly to estimates for other tropical acacias but for plants generally. The majority (96%) of the geneticvariation occurs within populations indicating that historically this species experienced high rates of geneflow over the geographic scale sampled. A UPGMA phenogram didn't match genetic distance amongpopulations with their geographic relationships. High historical rates of gene flow and the recentfragmentation of once more continuous populations coupled with the longevity of these trees couldexplain the results obtained.

Key words: Acacia tortilis, Sinai, conservation genetics, genetic diversity.

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