Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) has examined the genetic diversity of Rafflesia patma flowers originating from five locations outside protected areas.

Yayan Wahyu Kusuma, a researcher at the BRIN Ecology and Ethnobiology Research Center, said that Rafflesia patma, a close relative of Rafflesia arnoldii, is a protected plant as its existence in nature is rare and threatened with extinction.

"Since 2004, we have succeeded in researching and growing Rafflesia patma and its host plants. This endemic plant from Pangandaran has bloomed at least 16 times in the Bogor Botanical Gardens," he said in a statement from BRIN on Sunday.

The government has been encouraging efforts to conserve Rafflesiaceae relatives in their native habitat, on-site in protected areas, as well as outside their native habitat or ex-site, such as botanical gardens, arboretums, and biodiversity parks.

BRIN has researched the genetic diversity of Rafflesia patma originating from five locations outside protected areas: the Bogor Botanical Gardens, Leuweung Cipeucang in the Ciletuh Geopark, Bojonglarang Jayanti, Leuweung Sancang, and Pangandaran, all in West Java province.

Kusuma said that the results of research spanning two decades showed that the genetic diversity of Rafflesia patma originating from Leuweung Cipeucang was the highest.

The genetic diversity of Rafflesia patma from Leuweung Cipeucang (0.36) was significantly higher than those from the Bogor Botanical Gardens (0.32), Bojonglarang Jayanti (0.08), Leuweung Sancang (0.32), and Pangandaran (0.04).

He added that conservation efforts for rare plant species growing outside protected areas need to continue to be encouraged to increase genetic diversity.

"Apart from Rafflesia patma, we also found similar data on other rare plant species that grow outside protected areas, such as Vatica bantamensis and Hopea bilitonensis," Kusuma said.

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Translator: Sugiharto Purnama, Cindy Frishanti Octavia
Editor: Anton Santoso
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