Background: Neltuma pallida is a tree that grows in arid soils in northwestern Peru. As a predominant species of the Equatorial Dry Forest ecoregion, it holds significant economic and ecological value for both people and environment. Despite this, the species is severely threatened and there is a lack of genetic and genomic research, hindering the proposal of evidence-based conservation strategies. Results: In this work, we conducted the assembly, annotation, analysis and comparison of the chloroplast genome of a N. pallida specimen with those of related species. The assembled chloroplast genome has a length of 162,381 bp with a typical quadripartite structure (LSC-IRA-SSC-IRB). The calculated GC content was 35.97%. However, this is variable between regions, with a higher GC content observed in the IRs. A total of 132 genes were annotated, of which 19 were duplicates and 22 contained at least one intron in their sequence. A substantial number of repetitive sequences of different types were identified in the assembled genome, predominantly tandem repeats (> 300). In particular, 142 microsatellites (SSR) markers were identified. The phylogenetic reconstruction showed that N. pallida grouped with the other Neltuma species and with Prosopis cineraria. The analysis of sequence divergence between the chloroplast genome sequences of N. pallida, N. juliflora, P. farcta and Strombocarpa tamarugo revealed a high degree of similarity. Conclusions: The N. pallida chloroplast genome was found to be similar to those of closely related species. With a size of 162,831 bp, it had the classical chloroplast quadripartite structure and GC content of 35.97%. Most of the 132 identified genes were protein-coding genes. Additionally, over 800 repetitive sequences were identified, including 142 SSR markers. In the phylogenetic analysis, N. pallida grouped with other Neltuma spp. and P. cineraria. Furthermore, N. pallida chloroplast was highly conserved when compared with genomes of closely related species. These findings can be of great potential for further diversity studies and genetic improvement of N. pallida.
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© 2023, The Author(s).