M A Sofia Banu has completed her Ph.D at the age of 30 years from National Chemical Laboratory from Plant Molecular Biology Group. She is the presenting Assistant Professor in Department of Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Guahati University, Guwahti, India one of the oldest Universities in India. Her works on plant phylogeography are first hand reports from India on montane plants. She has published 4 papers in reputed journals and has presented many papers in conference.


"The Western Ghats (WG) in India is recognized as a global biodiversity hotspot and is one of the ten such most important eco-regions identified globally. The WG flora is characterized by a high proportion of medicinally important evergreen tree species, Symplocos racemosa Roxb., is an important member of it. Due to its medicinal importance and being found on the forest fringes, the species is highly susceptible to anthropogenic activities. The present study was undertaken to systematically analyze the effects of anthropogenic activities on the genetic diversity and population structure of S. racemosa and to identify populations for conservation purposes. Using the PCR-RFLP technique, we analyzed the variation in intergenic sequences of chloroplast (cp) and mitochondrial (mt) DNA from seven populations of S. racemosa sampled from protected, semi-protected and disturbed sites of WG to elucidate its genetic structure. Nine chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) haplotypes (chlorotypes) and eight mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotypes (mitotypes) were detected, of which four chlorotypes and five mitotypes were unique. Total diversity was high for both cp and mtDNA, although within population diversity was low. The presence of high genetic differentiation for both the maternal genomes indicated ancient nature of the populations. While the protected populations were highly diverse, demonstrating many unique haplotypes, the disturbed areas possessed less genetic diversity indicating the loss of genetic diversity due to anthropogenic activities. The outcomes of this study could be utilized for formulating conservation strategies for this medicinally important tree species."