Conservation Genetics

, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 1369–1376 | Cite as

Genetic diversity of an endangered plant, Cypripedium macranthos var. rebunense (Orchidaceae): background genetic research for future conservation

  • Takeshi Izawa
  • Takayuki Kawahara
  • Hideki Takahashi
Research Article


Cypripedium macranthos var. rebunense is an endangered plant endemic to Rebun Island, Japan. A proper understanding of genetic diversity is needed when conducting conservation programs for rare and endangered species. We therefore examined the genetic diversity of C. macranthos var. rebunense using allozyme markers with a view to future conservation. Our study revealed that C. macranthos var. rebunense has relatively high genetic diversity (P was 0.62, n a and n e were 1.85 and 1.28 respectively, and H o and H e were 0.163 and 0.187, respectively) when compared with other plant taxa. The natural habitats of C. macranthos var. rebunense are geographically separated into northern and the southern populations. Disappearance of alleles and increase in homozygosity expected as a result of the bottleneck effect were observed, particularly in the southern populations composed of a small number of plants. As additional negative effects (inbreeding depression and further genetic drift) due to fragmentation are predicted in these populations, the southern populations may show deterioration of genetic diversity in the near future.


Genetic diversity Endangered plant Cypripedium Allozyme Conservation 



We thank M. Somata, S. Miyamoto, Y. Saito and other islanders for their kind help during the fieldwork on Rebun Island. We also thank Soya Forestry Management Office and Rebun Town. The first author thanks Y. Sato, Y. Kato, G. Sarwar and T. Lackner for their help during fieldwork and grammatical revision of the manuscript. This study was supported by the Ministry of Environment of Japan (Kogai-boshi-to shiken kenkyu) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, 16310157).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Takeshi Izawa
    • 1
  • Takayuki Kawahara
    • 2
  • Hideki Takahashi
    • 3
  1. 1.Systematic Botany, Graduate school of agricultureHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Hokkaido Research Center, Forestry and Forest Research InstituteSapporoJapan
  3. 3.Section of Fundamental and Curatorial Studies, Hokkaido University MuseumHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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