Genetic and chemical diversity of Uncaria tomentosa Willd. ex. Schult. DC. in the Brazilian AmazonReport as inadecuate

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Uncaria tomentosa Willd. ex Schult. DC., a plant native to the Amazon region, is used widely in popular medicine and by the pharmaceutical industry because of its anti-inflammatory activity. However, the survival of this species is endangered by deforestation and indiscriminate collection, and a preservation plan is urgently required. The objectives of this study were to determine the genetic and chemical variability between and within eight populations of U. tomentosa from the Brazilian states of Acre, Pará and Amapá, and to investigate possible correlations between genetic and geographical distances, and between geographical distances or altitude and the accumulation of bioactive oxindole alkaloids. Three sequence-related amplified polymorphism SRAP markers were employed to fingerprint genomic DNA, and the amounts of mitraphylline and isomitraphylline in leaf samples were established by high-performance liquid chromatography. Although significant divergence existed between the tested populations FST = 0.246, the largest genetic diversity and the highest percentage of polymorphism 95.68% was found within the population from Mâncio Lima, Acre. Gene flow was considered rather limited Nm = 1.57, and no correlations between genetic and geographical distances were detected, suggesting that population structure followed an island model. Accumulations of mitraphylline and isomitraphylline varied in the range 32.94 to 0.57 and 3.75 to 0.36 mg g-1 dry weight, respectively. The concentration of isomitraphylline was positively influenced by altitude, such that the population collected at the site with the highest elevation Tarauacá, Acre exhibited the greatest alkaloid content. SRAP markers were very efficient in fingerprinting genomic DNA from U. tomentosa populations and clearly showed that genetic variability within populations was greater than between populations. A conservation and management plan should prioritize the creation of germplasm banks to prevent the loss of existing genetic variability, particularly within alkaloid-rich populations such as those of Tarauacá.

Author: Isabela Cristina Gomes Honório, Bianca Waleria Bertoni, Mariana Pires de Campos Telles, Ramilla dos Santos Braga, Suzelei de Cas



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