The effect of habitat fragmentation on genetic diversity and differentiation; fine-scale population structure of Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)

In her recent study, Meher A. Ony led the analyses how current habitat fragmentation impacted the Eastern Redbud population in the species native range.

We applied robust sampling and genotyping with previously developed gSSRs, and downstream population genetics approach. We discovered presence of population structure, high genetic diversity, and moderate genetic differentiation between two major clusters of C. canadensis in the Southern Appalachia. The conclusion is, the species was able to maintain high levels of genetic diversity and spatial genetic structure, despite habitat fragmentation. Results of this study have implications for habitat management efforts and future breeding programs to improve desirable horticultural traits.