Genetic variation has been assessed in 30 populations (931 families) ofFaidherbia albida (Leguminosae, Mimosoideae) from across its entire African range, using six isozyme loci identified by five enzyme systems. Among the populations studied a null allele was proposed to explain the absence ofLap-1 activity in populations from southern and eastern Africa. The mean percentage of polymorphic loci per population, the mean number of alleles per locus and the mean genetic diversity within populations were 31.7%, 1.6 and 0.127 respectively. Genetic diversity was greatest in populations from West Africa and lowest in populations from eastern/southern Africa, with Ethiopian/Sudanese populations intermediate. The overall degree of genetic differentiation between populations (GST) indicated that approximately 56% of the enzyme variation resided within populations. Clustering of Nei''s unbaised genetic distances calculated between all populations produced a dendrogram that generally followed the geographic distribution of the populations. Two major groups were identified that may be considered the eastern/southern African and the Ethiopian/West African clusters. Within the Ethiopian/West African cluster two subclusters could be recognised, one broadly corresponding to those populations from Ethiopia/Sudan and the other to those populations from West Africa. The implications of these results for theories regarding the origin ofF. albida in Africa are discussed.
Plant Systematics and Evolution (1997) 207 (1/2) 119-132