Author(s): Li Y, Zhai SN, Qiu YX, Guo YP, Ge XJ,
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Abstract Molecular phylogeographic studies have recently begun to elucidate how plant species from the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) and adjacent regions responded to the Quaternary climatic oscillations. In this regard, however, far less attention has been paid to the southern and south-eastern declivities of the QTP, i.e. the Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains (HHM) region. Here, we report a survey of amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) and chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) sequence variation in the HHM endemic Sinopodophyllum hexandrum, a highly selfing alpine perennial herb with mainly gravity-dispersed berries (105 individuals, 19 localities). We specifically aimed to test a vicariant evolutionary hypothesis across the 'Mekong-Salween Divide', a known biogeographic and phytogeographic boundary of north-to-south trending river valleys separating the East Himalayas and Hengduan Mts. Both cpDNA and AFLPs identified two divergent phylogroups largely congruent with these mountain ranges. There was no genetic depauperation in the more strongly glaciated East Himalayas (AFLPs: H(E)=0.031; cpDNA: h(S)=0.133) compared to the mainly ice-free Hengduan Mts. (AFLPs: H(E)=0.037; cpDNA: h(S)=0.082), while population differentiation was consistently higher in the former region (AFLPs: Φ(ST)=0.522 vs. 0.312; cpDNA: Φ(ST)=0.785 vs. 0.417). Our results suggest that East Himalayan and Hengduan populations of S. hexandrum were once fragmented, persisted in situ during glacials in both areas, and have not merged again, except for a major instance of inter-lineage chloroplast capture identified at the MSD boundary. Our coalescent time estimate for all cpDNA haplotypes (c. 0.37-0.48 mya), together with paleogeological evidence, strongly rejects paleo-drainage formation as a mechanism underlying allopatric fragmentation, whereas mountain glaciers following the ridges of the MSD during glacials (and possible interglacials) could have been responsible. This study thus indicates an important role for mountain glaciers in driving (incipient) allopatric speciation across the MSD in the HHM region by causing vicariant lineage divergence and acting as barriers to post-divergence gene flow. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Mol Phylogenet Evol
and referenced in Journal of Remote Sensing & GIS