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Evolution of the Euphrasia transmorrisonensis complex (Orobanchaceae) in alpine areas of Taiwan

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Abstract Aims 

To unravel isolation and differentiation of the genetic structure of the Euphrasia transmorrisonensis complex, a showy herb, among alpine regions of mountain peaks in subtropical Taiwan and to infer its evolutionary history. Location 

Alpine ecosystems of high-montane regions of Taiwan. Methods 

Phylogenetic analyses of the trnL intron and the trnL–trnF intergenic spacer of chloroplast (cp) DNA, and the intertranscribed spacer (ITS) of nuclear ribosomal (nr) DNA between 18S and 26S were carried out on 18 populations of the E. transmorrisonensis complex in Taiwan. Results 

In total, 10 haplotypes for cpDNA and 14 haplotypes for nrDNA were detected. Three population groups located in the northern, north-eastern, and south-central regions of the Central Mountain Range (CMR) were revealed according to the frequencies of haplotypes and haplotype lineages of nrDNA. Balancing selection might have played a role in the evolution of Euphrasia in Taiwan. Main conclusions 

By integrating the spatial-genetic patterns of cpDNA and nrDNA, two possible evolutionary histories of Euphrasia in Taiwan were inferred. The favourable hypotheses for interpreting the data suggest at least three origins of the E. transmorrisonensis complex in Taiwan, corresponding to each nuclear lineage in the northern (II), northern/north-eastern (I), and central/southern regions (III) with subsequent hybridization between lineages I and II and lineages II and III. These lineage boundaries are strengthened by the finding that haplotypes of C derived from cpDNA were found in the geographical region of lineage II of nrDNA, while haplotypes of A derived from cpDNA were found in the region of lineage III of nrDNA . Thus, the origin of chloroplasts exclusive to lineages II and III supports their long-term isolation from one another.

Keywords: Balancing selection; Euphrasia; Taiwan; chloroplastic DNA; intertranscribed spacer; phylogeography

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute of Plant Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan 2: Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

Publication date: 2005-11-01

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