Population genetic patterns in an endangered island perennial

Figure illustrating the genetic population research implemented in Dias et al., dedicated to the rare Azorean plant Lactuca watsoniana. Image produced by the authors.

Oceanic islands are of particular importance for the conservation of global diversity. Rare island plants with small population sizes and unique genetic patterns resulting from prolonged evolutionary isolation are usually extremely fragile. Therefore, research dedicated to conservation of these plants should consider threat factors, population structure and genetic diversity to enable the development of scientifically supported management programmes. In a recent study published in AoB PLANTS, Dias et al. performed a comprehensive population genetic study of Lactuca watsoniana, Azorean lettuce, unravelling genetic diversity patterns intrinsically related to geographical distances and barriers. Their study shows that genetic diversity levels in island plants can be relatively high even for rare plants.


Dias, E. F., Moura, M., Schaefer, H., & Silva, L. (2016). Geographical distance and barriers explain population genetic patterns in an endangered island perennial. AoB Plants, 8, plw072.

About the author


AoB PLANTS is an open-access, online journal that publishes peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of environmental and evolutionary biology. Published by Oxford University Press, AoB PLANTS provides a fast-track pathway for publishing high-quality research, where papers are available online to anyone, anywhere free of charge. Reasons to publish in AoB PLANTS include double-blind peer review of manuscripts, rapid processing time and low open-access charges.