Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Theses that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Access Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Plant & Soil Sciences

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



genetic variation, medicinal plant species, goldenseal, RAPDs, AMOVA, UPGMA


ABSTRACT GENETIC VARIABILITY IN HYDRASTIS CANADENSIS L. USING RAPD ANALYSIS FEBRUARY 2009 KERRY J. KELLEY, B.A. MOUNT HOLYOKE COLLEGE M.A. UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS AMHERST Directed by: Professor Lyle Craker Hydrastis canadensis L. (goldenseal) is an endangered perennial wildflower species native to eastern North America. In this study, several populations of goldenseal, (both cultivated and wild type) were analyzed for genetic variability. The samples were collected from plant populations in North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia and preserved using silica gel during collection. Random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis technique was used to generate DNA profiles from individual plants and to estimate genetic variability between groups (cultivated and wild type), among populations within groups and within populations using analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) and a UPGMA clustering phenogram. Our results demonstrate that the bulk of genetic diversity may be within and among populations, but not between groups. This indicates the need for preservation and conservation efforts at the population level. The next step would be to study goldenseal populations more in depth for underlying causes of the genetic variability observed in this study. Further study of genetic variability with different molecular markers may be needed to clarify the level of diversity for the species at the group level. Increased knowledge of genetic variability and the identification of accessions of goldenseal would prove useful for reintroduction and cultivation strategies.

First Advisor

Lyle E. Craker