Pfaffia glomerata is a native species from South America, occurring naturally in some states of Brazil. The ever growing interest by the species, mainly due to its important therapeutic properties, has threatened the natural populations, as exploitation has occurred in a rather predatory way. The present study aimed to compare the genetic diversity of four natural populations originated from of the area of the Paraná River basin (Paraná and Mato Grosso States). The individuals were propagated in vitro and characterized by means of RAPD markers. A total of 267 polymorphic marks were obtained from 67 primers. The genetic distance estimates were obtained based on the complement arithmetic of Nei and Li's similarity coefficient, and the genotypes were grouped according to the UPGMA method. Three populations from the margin of the Paraná River and at Mineiro Island presented low diversity levels among them, though possessing the same propagule dispersal flow. The population located in the proximities of the margin of the Ivaí river (tributary of the river Paraná) presented greater diversity values within and among the populations, suggesting that its preservation should be a priority and that the origin of the genetic variability may be related to the dispersion flow of the vegetative propagules.
brazilian-ginseng; germplasm conservation; plant breeding