Genetic structure of Mesoamerican populations of Big-leaf mahogany (Past)

We accessed the genetic structure of the Mesoamerican mahogany Swietenia macrophylla King (big-leaf mahogany), a Neotropical tree species recently listed as endangered in CITES which is commercially extinct through much of its native range.  Using seven variable microsatellite loci we assessed genetic diversity and population structure in eight naturally established mahogany populations from six Mesoamerican countries. Significant correlation was found between geographical distance and all pairwise measures of genetic divergence, suggesting the importance of regional biogeography and isolation by distance in Mesoamerican mahogany. The results of this study demonstrate greater phylogeographic structure than has been found across Amazon basin S. macrophylla. Our findings suggest a relatively complex Mesoamerican biogeographic history and lead to the prediction that other Central American trees will show similar patterns of regional differentiation. This work was carried out by Rachel Roth Novick, while a Yale Forestry and Environmental Studies Masters Student. 

Publication: Roth R., C. Dick, M.R. Lemes, C. Navarro, A. Caccone, and E. Bermingham. 2003. Genetic structure of Mesoamerican populations of Big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) inferred from microsatellite analysis. Molecular Ecology, 12: 2885-2894.