When tropical and subtropical congeners met: Multiple ancient hybridization events within Eriobotrya were detected in the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, a tropical-subtropical transition area in China

Sufang Chen, Richard I. Milne, Renchao Zhou, KaiKai Meng, Qianyi Yin, Wei Guo, Yongpeng Ma, Kangshan Mao, Kewang Xu, Young Dong Kim, Truong Van Do, Wenbo Liao, Qiang Fang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Global climate changes during the Miocene could have created ample opportunities for hybridization between members of tropical and subtropical biomes at the boundary between those zones, yet very few studies have tested this hypothesis. The Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau (YGP) in Southwest China is a biodiversity hotspot of vascular plants, located at a transitional area between the floristic regions of tropical Southeast Asia and subtropical East Asia. The genus Eriobotrya (Rosaceae) comprises both tropical and subtropical taxa, and has 12 species recorded from the YGP, making it a good system to test the hypothesis of between-biome hybridization. Therefore, we surveyed the evolutionary history of Eriobotrya by examining three chloroplast regions plus five nuclear genes for 817 individuals (47 populations) of 23 Eriobotrya species (including 19 populations of 12 species in the YGP), plus genome re-sequencing of 33 representative samples. We concluded that: 1) phylogenetic positions for 16 species (lineages) exhibited strong cyto-nuclear conflicts, most likely due to ancient hybridization; 2) The YGP is a hotspot for hybridization, where 11 species show clear evidence of chloroplast capture; 3) Eriobotrya likely originated in tropical Asia during the Eocene. From the Miocene onwards the intensification of the Eastern Asia Monsoon and global cooling may have caused shifts of the tropical-subtropical boundary and secondary contact between species, and thus provided ample opportunity to hybridization and diversification of Eriobotrya species, especially in the YGP. Our study highlights the significant role that paleo-climate changes likely played in driving hybridization and generating rich species diversity in climate transition zones.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalMolecular Ecology
Early online date15 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Eriobotrya
  • multiple ancient hybridization
  • chloroplast capture
  • genome resequencing
  • tropical and subtropical zones
  • global cooling

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