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Title: Phylogeography of Swertia perennis in Europe based on cpDNA markers
Authors: Urbaniak, Jacek
Kwiatkowski, Paweł
Pawlikowski, Paweł
Keywords: Alps; Carpathians; CpDNA; Disjunction; Haplotypes; Refugia; Swertia; Swertia perennis
Issue Date: 2018
Citation: PeerJ, Vol. 2018, iss. 9 (2018), Art. No. e5512
Abstract: Background. Swertia perennis (Gentianaceae) is a perennial diploid and clonal plant species that is discontinuously distributed in peat bogs in the mountains of Europe, Asia and North America as well as in the lowlands of Europe. The current geographical dispersion of S. perennis is probably the result of quaternary climatic changes that have played an important role in determining the distribution of Swertia and other plant and animal species. Methods. In this study we used molecular techniques and combined data from chloroplast DNA markers (trnLF region and trnH-psbA spacer) to elucidate the phylogeography of S. perennis in Europe. Plants were collected from 28 populations in different locations in the lowlands and mountainous areas of Europe (e.g., the Carpathians, Sudetes, Bohemian Forest and Alps). cDNA was analysed to detect the genetic relationship between specimens from different locations. Results. A total of 20 haplotypes were identified across the dataset. They were characterised by a high level of genetic variability but showed a lack of phylogeographical structure. This pattern may be the result of repeated recolonization and expansion from several areas. Such genetic differentiation may also be attributed to the relatively long-term isolation of S. perennis in Pleistocene refugia in Europe, which resulted in independent separation of different cpDNA phylogenetic lineages and variation in the nucleotide composition of cpDNA. Discussion. The lack of strong phylogeographical structure makes it impossible to indicate the centre of haplotype diversity; however, refugia located in the Carpathians, Sudetes or Alps are the most probable sites where S. perennis existed in Europe. This lack of structure may also indicate a high level of gene flow in times when the landscape and fen systems were not fragmented in numerous geographically-isolated populations. This makes it difficult to speculate about the relationships between Asiatic and European plant populations and the origin and distribution of this species in Europe. Today, it seems to be restricted due to the occurrence of plants which clearly reflects the genetic variability from the ancient period.
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.5512
ISSN: 2167-8359
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