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Complex population evolutionary history of four cold-tolerant Notopterygium herb species in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and adjacent areas

AuthorsLiu, Mi-Li; He, Yan-Ling; López-Pujol, Jordi CSIC ORCID ; Jia, Yun; Li, Zhong-Hu
Issue Date11-Feb-2019
PublisherSpringer Nature
CitationHeredity 123: 242–263 (2019)
AbstractHistorical geological and climatic events are the most important drivers of population expansions/contractions, range shifts, and interspecific divergence in plants. However, the species divergence and spatiotemporal population dynamics of alpine cold-tolerant herbal plants in the high-altitude Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) and adjacent areas remain poorly understood. In this study, we investigated population evolutionary history of four endangered Notopterygium herb species in the QTP and adjacent regions. We sequenced 10 nuclear loci, 2 mitochondrial DNA regions, and 4 chloroplast DNA regions in a total of 72 natural populations from the 4 species, and tested the hypothesis that the population history of these alpine herbs was markedly affected by the Miocene–Pliocene QTP uplifts and Quaternary climatic oscillations. We found that the four Notopterygium species had generally low levels of nucleotide variability within populations. Molecular dating and isolation-with-migration analyses suggested that Notopterygium species diverged ~1.74–7.82 million years ago and their differentiation was significantly associated with recent uplifts of the eastern margin of the QTP. In addition, ecological niche modeling and population history analysis showed that N. incisum and N. franchetii underwent considerable demographic expansions during the last glacial period of the Pleistocene, whereas a demographic contraction and a expansion occurred for N. forrestii and N. oviforme during the antepenultimate interglacial period and penultimate glacial period, respectively. These findings highlight the importance of geological and climatic changes during the Miocene–Pliocene and Pleistocene as causes of species divergence and changes in population structure within cold-tolerant herbs in the QTP biodiversity hotspot.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1038/s41437-019-0186-2
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