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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Genet. | doi: 10.3389/fgene.2018.00564

Out of refugia: Population genetic structure and evolutionary history of the alpine medicinal plant Gentiana lawrencei var. farreri (Gentianaceae)

 Peng-Cheng Fu1,  Hui-Yuan Ya2, Qi-Wei Liu1, Hui-Min Cai1 and Shi-Long Chen3, 4*
  • 1College of Life Sciences, Luoyang Normal University, China
  • 2School of Food and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Luoyang Normal University, China
  • 3Key Laboratory of Adaptation and Evolution of Plateau Biota, Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology (CAS), China
  • 4Qinghai Provincial Key Laboratory of Crop Molecular Breeding, Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Understanding the genetic structure and evolutionary history of plants contributes to their conservation and utilization and helps to predict their response to environmental changes. The wildflower and traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicinal plant Gentiana lawrencei var. farreri is endemic to the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). To explore its genetic structure and evolutionary history, the genetic diversity, divergence, and demographics were analyzed in individuals from 31 locations across the QTP using 1 chloroplast marker and 10 nuclear microsatellite loci. High genetic diversity was detected in G. lawrencei var. farreri, and most of the genetic variance was found within populations. Values of FST in G. lawrencei var. farreri from nuclear microsatellite and chloroplast data were 0.1757 and 0.739, respectively. The data indicated the presence of isolation by distance. The southeast edge of the QTP was the main refugium for G. lawrencei var. farreri, and one microrefugium was also detected in the plateau platform of the QTP. Both nuclear microsatellite and chloroplast data indicated that the populations were divided into two geographically structured groups, a southeast group and a northwest group. The current genetic pattern was mainly formed through recolonization from the two independent refugia. Significant melt was detected at the adjacent area of the two geographically structured groups. Approximate Bayesian computation showed that the northwest group had diverged from the southeast group, which then underwent population expansion. Our results suggest that the two-refugia pattern had a significant impact on the genetic structure and evolutionary history of G. lawrencei var. farreri.

Keywords: Gentiana lawrencei var. farreri, Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, Microsatellites (SSR), Chloroplast DNA (cpDNA), Refugia, Genetic structure, evolutionary history

Received: 12 Aug 2018; Accepted: 06 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Zhonghu Li, Northwest University, China

Reviewed by:

Piotr Androsiuk, Department of Plant Physiology, Genetics and Biotechnology, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland
Hengchang Wang, Wuhan Botanical Garden (CAS), China  

Copyright: © 2018 Fu, Ya, Liu, Cai and Chen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Shi-Long Chen, Key Laboratory of Adaptation and Evolution of Plateau Biota, Northwest Institute of Plateau Biology (CAS), Xining, China, slchen@nwipb.cas.cn