GENE FLOW AND SPECIES DELIMITATION: A CASE STUDY OF TWO PINE SPECIES WITH OVERLAPPING DISTRIBUTIONS IN SOUTHEAST CHINA

Yong Feng Zhou, Richard J. Abbott, Zu Yao Jiang, Fang K. Du, Richard I. Milne, Jian Quan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Species delimitation detected by molecular markers is complicated by introgression and incomplete lineage sorting between species. Recent modeling suggests that fixed genetic differences between species are highly related to rates of intraspecific gene flow. However, it remains unclear whether such differences are due to high levels of intraspecific gene flow overriding the spread of introgressed alleles or favoring rapid lineage sorting between species. In pines, chloroplast (cp) and mitochondrial (mt) DNAs are normally paternally and maternally inherited, respectively, and thus their relative rates of intraspecific gene flow are expected to be high and low, respectively. In this study, we used two pine species with overlapping geographical distributions in southeast China, P. massoniana and P. hwangshanensis, as a model system to examine the association between organelle gene flow and variation within and between species. We found that cpDNA variation across these two pine species is more species specific than mtDNA variation and almost delimits taxonomic boundaries. The shared mt/cp DNA genetic variation between species shows no bias in regard to parapatric versus allopatric species' distributions. Our results therefore support the hypothesis that high intraspecific gene flow has accelerated cpDNA lineage sorting between these two pine species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2342-2352
Number of pages11
JournalEvolution
Volume64
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

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