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In past decades, infestations of the cycad aulacaspis scale have caused extreme declines in wild populations of Cycas taitungensis, an endemic cycad in Taiwan. The Forestry Bureau in Taiwan has considered ex situ conservation management techniques for C. taitungensis, such as seed storage or transplanting, to enable the survival of this species if wild populations become extinct. In this study, we use molecular markers, including the inter-simple sequence repeat and simple sequence repeats (SSR), to evaluate genetic variation, identify distinct genetic units, and select individuals for seed storage. In the results, half of the SSR loci deviated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and almost all SSR loci showed positive inbreeding coefficient values as a result of heterozygote deficiency. The distinct genetic units for conservation management were evaluated using the assignment test based on the Markov Chain Monte Carlo method, and the grouping was consistent with distinct genetic units for in situ or ex situ conservation management.
Keywords: Cycas taitungensis, ex situ conservation, genetic variation, ISSR, SSR