International Journal of Agroforestry and Silviculture ISSN: 2375-1096 Vol. 10 (1), pp. 001-009, January, 2022. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Genetic diversity of Uapaca kirkiana Muel. Årg. populations as revealed by amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs)

Weston F. Mwase1, 2*, Å. Bjørnstad2, B. Stedje3, J.M. Bokosi1 and M.B. Kwapata1

1University of Malawi, Bunda College of Agriculture, Forestry and Horticulture Department, P.O. Box 219, Lilongwe,


2Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, P.O. Box 5003, Ås, Norway.

3Natural History Museum Botanical Garden, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1172 Blindern NO-0318 Oslo, Norway.

Accepted 18 October, 2021


Uapaca kirkiana is a priority fruit tree species for domestication in miombo woodlands of Southern Africa. Natural populations of U. kirkiana are declining through out the woodlands due to deforestation, forest fragmentation and wildfires. Knowledge of population structure and genetic diversity is prerequisite for development of conservation strategies. Amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP) were used to assess the genetic diversity of eight populations from three geographical regions of Malawi. AFLP markers revealed moderate differentiation (GST =0.079) among the populations collected from the three regions, however, there were no significant genetic variations among the regional collections. Analyses of molecular variance (AMOVA) found very high variation (92%) among individuals within populations and 6.8% among populations. The variations between populations indicate that populations can not be considered a single panmictic unit. Analyses of genetic similarity based on unweighted pair group method of arithmetic averages (UPGMA) suggested that the 8 populations fall into three clusters with 5 populations in one cluster, two in another and the lake shore population of Chesamu in its own cluster. Based on results presented it would be cost effective to sample a small number of populations represented by a large number of individuals for germplasm conservation purposes. In view of the wide distribution of U. kirkiana in the miombo woodlands in Southern Africa there is need for a more intensive genetic study to include populations growing in different countries to produce a wider picture of levels of distribution of genetic diversity of the species.

Key words: AFLP, conservation, dioecious, domestication, genetic diversity, miombo, Uapaca kirkiana, UPGMA.