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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Conservation Genetics and the Preservation of the Mesoamerican Endemic Cycad, Dioon lind

EPA Grant Number: U916093
Title: Conservation Genetics and the Preservation of the Mesoamerican Endemic Cycad, Dioon lind
Investigators: Moynihan, Jeremy
Institution: Florida International University
EPA Project Officer: Just, Theodore J.
Project Period: January 1, 2002 through January 1, 2005
Project Amount: $116,484
RFA: Minority Academic Institutions (MAI) Fellowships for Graduate Environmental Study (2002)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Natural and Life Sciences , Biology/Life Sciences



Cycads are ancient plants that are rapidly disappearing in the wild because of habitat loss and continued popularity in the ornamental plant trade. Genetic erosion may be a contributing factor to the decline of these fascinating plants. The objective of this research project is to improve our understanding of genetic variation and better resolve the taxonomy of Dioon; both of which are critical to assessing ex-situ conservation efforts. Cycad numbers are plummeting in the wild, and a re-examination of ex-situ collections is critical.


I will examine the genetic diversity within and among populations of the genus Dioon to test the working hypothesis that the ex-situ collections of Fairchild Tropical Gardens and the Montgomery Botanical Center are conserving the genetic diversity found in the wild. Concurrently, a DNA-based species phylogeny will be proposed to resolve taxonomic problems in the genus. Microsatellites and low-copy nuclear genes will be used to discern population genetic structure and to construct the phylogeny.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, cycads, phylogeny, microsatellites.

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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