Parapiptadenia rigida is a tropical early secondary succession tree characteristic of the Tropical Atlantic Rainforest. This species is of great ecological importance in the recovery of degraded areas. In this study we investigated the variability and population genetic structure of eight populations of P. rigida. Five AFLP primer combinations were used in a sample of 159 individuals representing these eight populations, rendering a total of 126 polymorphic fragments. The averages of percentage of polymorphic loci, gene diversity, and Shannon index were 60.45%, 0.217, and 0.322, respectively. A significant correlation between the population genetic variability and the population sizes was observed. The genetic variability within populations (72.20%) was higher than between these (22.80%). No perfect correlation was observed between geographic and genetic distances, which might be explained by differences in deforestation intensities that occurred in these areas. A dendrogram constructed by the UPGMA method revealed the formation of two clusters, these also confirmed by Bayesian analysis for the number of K cluster. These results show that it is necessary to develop urgent management strategies for the conservation of certain populations of P. rigida, while other populations still preserve reasonably high levels of genetic variability.
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