Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 61, Issue 8, pp 1523–1532 | Cite as

Genetic variation in cultivated populations of Gastrodia elata, a medicinal plant from central China analyzed by microsatellites

  • Yuan-Yuan Chen
  • Zhao-Xia Bao
  • Ying Qu
  • Zuo-Zhou Li
Research Article


Gastrodia elata, a member of Orchidaceae, is a popular herbal medicine in oriental countries, and has been cultivated in China since the 1970s. Genetic diversity in six cultivated populations of G. aelata from central China was estimated using simple sequence repeats (SSRs, or microsatellites). For eight nuclear microsatellites, a medium level of genetic diversities (A = 3.92, H E = 0.495) was found in the populations, as compared with microsatellite variations of the other orchids. The genetic variation observed might be associated with the multiple origins and weak artificial selection in the cultivated G. elata populations. F statistics, calculated using different approaches, consistently revealed that the genetic differentiation among populations accounted for about 18 % of total genetic diversity (F ST = 0.186, F coal = 0.179). The results suggested that primitive cultivation practices might be an effective way for the maintenance and conservation of gene pools of medicinal plants. In order to alleviate the heterozygote deficit, controlling crossing should be carried out by competent research groups and the hybrid seedlings introduced in populations.


Cultivated populations Domestication Gastrodiaelata Genetic bottleneck Genetic variation Germplasm conservation 



This research was supported by the National Scientific Foundation of China (30370145, 31100247). We thank Ms. Chen Jian and Dr. Andrew Apudo for their valuable comments on the manuscript. We are appreciative of the editor and the reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yuan-Yuan Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhao-Xia Bao
    • 1
    • 4
  • Ying Qu
    • 3
  • Zuo-Zhou Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Plant Germplasm Enhancement and Specialty Agriculture, Wuhan Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Hubei Key Laboratory of Wetland Evolution & Ecological Restoration, Wuhan Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Weihai Environmental Protection Monitoring StationWeihaiPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.C-Bons Cosmetics Chemical (Wuhan) CO., LTDWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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