, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 247-254

Colonization routes of Pinus sylvestris inferred from distribution of mitochondrial DNA variation

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Understanding the present-day distribution of molecular variation requires knowledge about the history of the species. Past colonization routes and locations of refugia of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) were inferred from variation in mitochondrial DNA in material collected from 37 populations located in countries within, and immediately adjacent to the continent of Europe. Two mitochondrial regions, nad1 intron (exon B/C) and nad7 intron 1, were included in the study. Differentiation in maternally inherited mitochondria was high (G ST′ = 0.824). Two new haplotypes were found at the nad7 intron 1. The occurrence of a 5-bp indel variant was restricted to the Turkish Kalabak population and a 32 bp only found in Central, Eastern, and Northern Europe. The complete absence of the 32-bp indel from the Mediterranean peninsulas supports the view that coniferous forests existed outside these areas during the last glacial maximum, and these populations contributed to the subsequent colonization of the northern parts of Europe. P. sylvestris shares features of its glacial and postglacial history with two other northern, cold-tolerant tree species, Picea abies and Betula sp. These three species differ from many other European trees for which pollen core and molecular evidence indicate colonization from southern refugia after the last glacial period.

Communicated by A. Kremer