Are Genetic Threats a Serious Concern in the Conservation of Natural Populations?  

Tawanda Tarakini , Xingxing Liang
1 Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT
2 Department of Wildlife and Safari Management, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Bag 7724 Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Molecular Ecology and Conservation, 2012, Vol. 2, No. 1   doi: 10.5376/ijmec.2012.02.0001
Received: 23 Mar., 2012    Accepted: 07 May, 2012    Published: 11 Jun., 2012
© 2012 BioPublisher Publishing Platform
This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Preferred citation for this article:

Tarakini and Liang, 2012, Are genetic threats a serious concern in the conservation of natural populations? International Journal of Molecular Ecology and Conservation, Vol.2, No.1 (doi: 10.5376/ijmec.2012.02.0001)

Abstract

The conservation of the genetic variability of the indigenous angiosperm community is very essential. A survey of indigenous angiosperm biodiversity of the University of Agriculture Nature Reserve was undertaken. Plants collected were dried, poisoned and mounted on herbarium sheets; proper identification and confirmation in a recognised herbarium were carried out. A total number of one hundred and eighteen (118) plant species belonging to fifty-three families were collected. Of these, ninety-eight are dicotyledons and twenty are monocotyledons. Gramineae is the largest family with nineteen plants followed by Papilionaceae with nine and Euphorbiaceae with eight plants. Shrubs were found to have significantly contributed to the ecosystem with a total of thirty-one species, while twenty-five trees were recorded, herbs thirty, climbers eleven, grasses twenty and sedges one. From this study it is obvious that the Nature Reserve is rich in plant biodiversity. It is commendable therefore, that the University has set aside the nature reserve to protect a representative sample of the vegetation for posterity so that all the indigenous plants may not be lost to the development projects embarked upon by the University.

Keywords
Inbreeding; Genetic variation; Mutation; Extinction; Meltdown theory; Major histocompatibility complex (MHC)
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