Chloroplast DNA variation in a rainforest tree (Aucoumea klaineana, Burseraceae) in Gabon


Muloko-Ntoutoume N, Petit RJ, White L & Abernethy K (2000) Chloroplast DNA variation in a rainforest tree (Aucoumea klaineana, Burseraceae) in Gabon. Molecular Ecology, 9 (3), pp. 359-363.

One of the dominant savannah colonists in Gabon is Aucoumea klaineana or Okoumé (Burseraceae), an endemic species which belongs to a monotypic genus. Chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) variation was studied in this species by means of PCR amplification of 40 kb of cpDNA sequences, followed by restriction analysis of the resulting fragments. No insertion/deletion events were noted, and a single point mutation was found. The level of differentiation among the 19 populations studied was relatively low ( G ST = 0.54) compared to other plant species (mean of 0.76), in agreement with the pioneer status of the species. However, cpDNA diversity was geographically structured, with the less frequent haplotype occurring only in populations from southern Gabon. This distribution might suggest either that there were two ancient source populations of Okoumé, one in the north and the other in the south, from which the colonizing process of the savannah began after the last ice age, or alternatively that there was one polymorphic source in the south. The low level of cpDNA diversity could indicate that Okoumé populations in these refugia were quite small.

Aucoumea klaineana; chloroplast DNA; forest refugia; genetic variation; restriction sites; tropical rainforest

Molecular Ecology: Volume 9, Issue 3

Publication date31/03/2000