Conservation Genetics

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 111–121 | Cite as

Restoration of genetic diversity from soil seed banks in a threatened aquatic plant, Nymphoides peltata

  • Ryuji Uesugi
  • Jun Nishihiro
  • Yoshihiko Tsumura
  • Izumi Washitani


Populations of a threatened aquatic plant, Nymphoides peltata, have rapidly degenerated under the influence of recent artificial changes in Lake Kasumigaura of Japan. To estimate the potential of soil seed banks for genetic restoration of the species, we used 10 microsatellite markers to analyze the genetic variation in adults and in seedlings that emerged from soil seed banks. About 187 leaf samples from the cultured stocks that were collected in 17 adult subpopulations in 1995 and 2000 and from three subpopulations that were newly discovered in 2002 were analyzed. As a result, only 18 genets could be identified, suggesting that clonal diversity of the adult population had already become extremely low. Genetic tests were performed on 430 seedlings from seed banks at six locations of natural lakeshores and three of the restoration sites that were artificially constructed in an attempt to assign them to the remnant adult population; many of the seedlings showed genetic variation different from the adults. Furthermore, the seedlings preserved seven alleles that had been lost from remnant adults. However, they had lower average numbers of alleles and heterozygosity levels (NA = 1.5–3.1, H E = 0.146–0.487) than the remnant adults (NA = 3.5, H E = 0.539) and showed high inbreeding coefficients, suggesting that the seed banks were produced by inbreeding. Thus, although the seed banks had a certain potential to restore genetic diversity, the fitness reduction in seed banks caused by inbreeding could affect the success of restoration based on seed banks.


Clonal diversity Ex situ conservation Genetic rescue Soil seed bank Restoration ecology 


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This research was partly supported by a Grant-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (no. 15710173). We thank Naoki Tani and Shinichi Takagawa for their laboratory and field assistance. We also thank Hiroyoshi Iwata for developing a computer program for PCO.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ryuji Uesugi
    • 1
  • Jun Nishihiro
    • 2
  • Yoshihiko Tsumura
    • 3
  • Izumi Washitani
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Ecological Information, Division of Environmental Science & Technology, Graduate School of AgricultureKyoto UniversityKyoto606-8502Japan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Conservation Ecology, Department of Ecosystem Studies, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Forest GeneticsForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteIbarakiJapan

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