Highlights: The employment of ISSR molecular markers has shown moderate genetic diversity and high genetic differentiation in Tetraclinis articulata; Genetic structure of populations seems to be influenced by the anthropogenic use of this species since historical times, or alternatively, by the complex palaeogeographic history of the Mediterranean basin; Results could be used to propose management policies for conservation of populations.
Tetraclinis articulata (Vahl) Masters is a tree distributed throughout the western Mediterranean basin. It is included in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) red list, and protected by law in several of the countries where it grows. In this study we examined the genetic diversity and genetic structure of 14 populations of T. articulata in its whole geographic range using ISSR (inter simple sequence repeat) markers. T. articulata showed moderate genetic diversity at intrapopulation level and high genetic differentiation. The distribution of genetic diversity among populations did not exhibit a linear pattern related to geographic distances, since all analyses (principal coordinate analysis, Unweighted pair group method with arithmetic mean dendrogram and Bayesian structure analysis) revealed that spanish population grouped with Malta and Tunisia populations. Although it is possible that T. articulata earlier was natural in Southeast Spain, results suggest that the current population has been reintroduced into the Iberian Peninsula in historical times, due to its utility in mining and building. In addition, results could be used to propose management guidelines for the conservation of T. articulata.