microsatellite loci

Dr. Matt Estep, Appalachian State University Jennifer Rhode Ward, University of North Carolina at Asheville

Many plant species are being driven towards rarity due to exploitation for food, medicine, or the nursery trade. Land managers in the Smoky Mountain National Park are particularly concerned about two plant species: cutleaf coneflower / Sochan (Rudbeckia laciniata), and ramps (Allium tricoccum). Both of these species are traditionally foraged for food and ceremonial use by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and parklands will soon open to limited collection by EBCI members. To ensure the health and vitality of these species, a combination of demographic and genetic data are being collected. These will be used to assess baseline genetic diversity and prioritize populations for conservation. Developing novel molecular tools for monitor imperiled plant species is one avenue towards safeguarding their futures, as these tools can be used to identify problematic reductions in genetic diversity over time.

Date Recorded: 
Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Fred Gouker, Abigail Moore, Kevin Conrad, Margaret Pooler, USDA-ARS U.S. National Arboretum, Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit, Enviromental and Plant Biology Department, Ohio University

Sassafras albidum is a well-known, ecologically important tree that is dispersed throughout the Eastern United States. Its root and bark oil were commonly used as a flavoring agent for many products including tea and root beer. This tree can be used to restore depleted soils and rehabilitate disturbed sites. Sassafras also serves as a host plant for the Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly, providing a strong wildlife value. S. albidum is a member of the Lauraceae family that is presently threatened by laurel wilt disease originating from the fungus Raffaelea lauricola. Laurel wilt and is transferred by the insect vector, redbay ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus glabratus) through burrowing. While fungicides may help treat individual trees, the drastic spread of this disease has led us to believe broad-scale, preventative, efforts must be made to conserve the genetic diversity of this species. In this study we strive to isolate microsatellite loci from a diverse collection of sassafras found across the eastern and midwest regions of the United States to help protect and potentially recover this tree species through germplasm conservation before laurel wilt advances through the extensive native range of Sassafras and becomes a broad-scale epidemic.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Wednesday, September 11, 2019