Progress in studies of genetic diversity and conservation biology of endangered plant species
ZHANG Da Yong, JIANG Xin Hua
Although there have been extensive studies on the genetics of endangered plant species, it is still highly debatable about the role of population genetics in rare plant conservation. The genetic diversity of endangered species may be lost due to genetic drift and inbreeding, but this loss is more likely to be a symptom of endangerment rather than its cause. There is no clear cut relationship between the level of genetic diversity and species viability. Changes in the genetic structure of plant populations may exert negative influence on population persistence if this change involves loss of self incompatibility alleles or genetic assimilation through hybridization with a reproductively compatible relative.