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Comparative phylogeography and population structure of European Betula species, with particular focus on B. pendula and B. pubescens

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Abstract Aim 

To compare the population genetic structures of the haplotype-sharing species Betula pendula and B. pubescens and to draw phylogeographic inferences using chloroplast DNA markers. In particular, we tested whether B. pendula and B. pubescens exhibited the same or different phylogeographic structures. Location 

Western Europe and Russia. Methods 

In this study we used both chloroplast DNA polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism and microsatellites to genotype B. pendula, B. pubescens and, to a limited extent, B. nana, in 53 populations across Eurasia. A spatialamova(samova) was used to identify major clusters within each species. Results 

The low level of phylogeographic structure previously observed in B. pendula was confirmed, and thesamovaanalysis retrieved only two major clusters. In contrast, seven clusters were observed in B. pubescens, although the overall level of population differentiation was similar to that of B. pendula. Main conclusions 

We detected a difference in the population genetic structure between the two species, despite extensive haplotype sharing. It is difficult to ascribe this finding to a single factor, but divergence in ecology between the two species may provide part of the explanation. For both species, the contribution of southern western populations to the recolonization after the Last Glacial Maximum seems to have been limited, and eastern and western European populations apparently had different histories.

Keywords: Chloroplast markers; Russia; SAMOVA; haplotype-sharing phylogeography; post-glacial recolonization; refugia; western Europe

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Evolutionary Functional Genomics, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18 D, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden 2: Plant Biotechnology Department, Genexpress, University of Florence, Via della Lastruccia 14, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (Firenze), Italy 3: Plant Genetics Institute, National Research Council, Via Madonna del Piano 10, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (Firenze), Italy

Publication date: September 1, 2007


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