Gislaine Coelho

and 6 more

Euterpe edulis (Arecaceae) Mart has high ecological and economic importance providing food resources for more than 58 species of birds and 20 species of mammals, including humans. E. edulis is the second most explored non-timber product from Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Due to overexploitation and destruction of habitats, E. edulis is threatened by extinction. E. edulis populations have large morphological variations, with individuals having green, red or yellow leaf sheath. However, no study has related phenotypic distinctions between populations and their levels of genetic structure. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the diversity and genetic structure of different E. edulis morphotypes. We sampled 250 adult individuals in eight populations with the different morphotypes. Using 14 microsatellite markers, we access genetic diversity through population genetic parameters calculated in the GenAlex program and the diveRsity package in R. We used the Wilcoxon test to verify population bottlenecks and the genetic distance of Nei and Bayesian analysis for genetic clusters. The eight populations showed low allele richness, low heterogeneity observed and high inbreeding values (f). In addition, six of the eight populations experienced genetic bottlenecks, which would partly explain the low genetic diversity in populations. Cluster analysis identified two clusters (K=2), with green morphotype genetically distinguishing from yellow and red morphotypes. Thus, we show, for the first time, a strong genetic structure among E. edulis morphotypes even for geographically close populations.