Population structure and genetic divergence in Firmiana danxiaensis

WU Xingtong1 CHEN Lu1 WANG Minqiu1 ZHANG Yuan1 LIN Xueying1 LI Xinyu1 ZHOU Hong2 WEN Yafeng1

(1.Central South University of Forestry and Technology, Changsha 410004)
(2.Wildlife Conservation Office of Shaoguan, Guangdong, Shaoguan, Guangdong 512000)

【Abstract】 Firmiana danxiaensis is an endemic plant species which is narrowly distributed in the northern parts of Shaoguan, Guangdong, China. To devise appropriate conservation strategies for this rare species, we examined the population structure and estimated the demographic history of nine natural populations using 18 EST-SSR markers. The results revealed a moderate degree of total genetic diversity (Ht = 0.631) at the species level but high genetic diversity within populations (Hs = 0.546). Strong genetic differentiation existed between two groups of Danxiashan and Nanxiong (FST = 0.150). This current pattern might have arisen from prolonged geographical isolation and human disturbances. The STRUCTURE analysis demonstrated that the whole population could be divided into two distinct gene pools, closely related by their geographic location and having experienced independent evolutionary routes. The genetic background of Danxiashan was more complicated than that of Nanxiong. The approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) analysis indicated that divergence time between the two groups could be 100,000 years BP, and their effective population sizes were 7,290 and 5,550 individuals, respectively. Combining the information of genetic variation with niche modeling, we inferred that F. danxiaensis might have been widely distributed around the Nanling Mountain in the Quaternary period. The populations located in the northern of Nanling Mountain likely became extinct due to climate change. Danxiashan and Nanxiong provided the main refuges for the species during the last ice age. Being a rare species with small population sizes, better ecological investigation of natural populations and in situ conservation and implementation of restoration strategy are important measures to conserve this species.

【Keywords】 population genetic structure; genetic divergence; genetic diversity; Approximate Bayesian Computation; EST-SSR marker; Firmiana danxiaensis;


【Funds】 Project supported by the Wild Plant Protection Foundation of the State Forestry Bureau Project supported by the Wildlife Protection Office Foundation of Shaoguan City (2016ZWZY06)

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(Translated by GAO C)


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This Article


CN: 11-3247/Q

Vol 26, No. 11, Pages 1168-1179

November 2018


Article Outline


  • 1 Materials and methods
  • 2 Results
  • 3 Discussion
  • Supplementary Material
  • References