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Population genetic evidence for speciation pattern and gene flow between Picea wilsonii, P. morrisonicola and P. neoveitchii.

Annals of Botany

Gene Flow, China, Genetic Speciation, Genetic Variation, Phylogeny, Phylogeography, Picea, genetics

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      Genetic drift due to geographical isolation, gene flow and mutation rates together make it difficult to determine the evolutionary relationships of present-day species. In this study, population genetic data were used to model and decipher interspecific relationships, speciation patterns and gene flow between three species of spruce with similar morphology, Picea wilsonii, P. neoveitchii and P. morrisonicola. Picea wilsonii and P. neoveitchii occur from central to north-west China, where they have overlapping distributions. Picea morrisonicola, however, is restricted solely to the island of Taiwan and is isolated from the other two species by a long distance. Sequence variations were examined in 18 DNA fragments for 22 populations, including three fragments from the chloroplast (cp) genome, two from the mitochondrial (mt) genome and 13 from the nuclear genome. In both the cpDNA and the mtDNA, P. morrisonicola accumulated more species-specific mutations than the other two species. However, most nuclear haplotypes of P. morrisonicola were shared by P. wilsonii, or derived from the dominant haplotypes found in that species. Modelling of population genetic data supported the hypothesis that P. morrisonicola derived from P. wilsonii within the more recent past, most probably indicating progenitor-derivative speciation with a distinct bottleneck, although further gene flow from the progenitor to the derivative continued. In addition, the occurrence was detected of an obvious mtDNA introgression from P. neoveitchii to P. wilsonii despite their early divergence. The extent of mutation, introgression and lineage sorting taking place during interspecific divergence and demographic changes in the three species had varied greatly between the three genomes. The findings highlight the complex evolutionary histories of these three Asian spruce species.

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      Gene Flow, China, Genetic Speciation, Genetic Variation, Phylogeny, Phylogeography, Picea, genetics


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