Biochemical Genetics

, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 522–539 | Cite as

Population Genetics of Calotropis gigantea, a Medicinal and Fiber Resource Plant, as Inferred from Microsatellite Marker Variation in two Native Countries

  • Md. Rabiul Islam
  • Zhi-Zhong Li
  • Andrew W. Gichira
  • Mohammad Nur Alam
  • Peng-Cheng Fu
  • Guang-Wan Hu
  • Qing-Feng WangEmail author
  • Ling-Yun ChenEmail author
Original Article


Calotropis gigantea is well known for its aesthetic, medicinal, pharmacological, fodder, fuel, and fiber production potential. Unfortunately, this plant species is still undomesticated, and the genetic information available for crop improvement is limited. For this study, we sampled 21 natural populations of C. gigantea from two key areas of its natural distribution range (Bangladesh and China) and genotyped 379 individuals using nine nuclear microsatellite markers. Population genetic diversity was higher in Bangladesh than that observed in Chinese populations. Overall, a moderate level of genetic diversity was found (Na = 3.73, HE = 0.466), with most of the genetic variation detected within populations (65.49%) and substantial genetic differentiation (FST = 0.345) between the study regions. We observed a significant correlation between genetic and geographic distances (r  =  0.287, P  =  0.001). The Bayesian clustering, UPGMA tree, and PCoA analyses yielded three distinct genetic pools, but the number of migrants per generation was high (NM = 0.52–2.78) among them. Our analyses also revealed that some populations may have experienced recent demographic bottlenecks. Our study provides a baseline for exploitation of the genetic resources of C. gigantea in domestication and breeding programs as well as some insights into the germplasm conservation of this valuable plant.


Calotropis gigantea Domestication Genetic diversity Gene flow Microsatellites Population bottleneck 



We acknowledged Professor Dr. Md. Abu Hasan, Hajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology University, Bangladesh, and Xu Zhun for helping during sample collection; Shu-Ying Zhao for assistance in data analyses; and John Mulinge Nzei and Mwanzia Virginia M. for language editing of the manuscript. This project financially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31670226) and CAS-TWAS President’s PhD Fellowship Program, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10528_2019_9904_MOESM1_ESM.docx (618 kb)
Supplementary file1 (DOCX 619 kb)
10528_2019_9904_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (46 kb)
Supplementary file2 (XLSX 46 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Md. Rabiul Islam
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Zhi-Zhong Li
    • 1
    • 3
  • Andrew W. Gichira
    • 1
    • 3
  • Mohammad Nur Alam
    • 1
    • 3
  • Peng-Cheng Fu
    • 5
  • Guang-Wan Hu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qing-Feng Wang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ling-Yun Chen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Aquatic Botany and Watershed Ecology, Wuhan Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.Sino-Africa Joint Research CenterChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Department of Crop Physiology and EcologyHajee Mohammad Danesh Science and Technology UniversityDinajpurBangladesh
  5. 5.Life Science CollegeLuoyang Normal UniversityLuoyangChina

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