Intraspecific haplotype diversity in Cherleria sedoides L. (Caryophyllaceae) is best explained by chloroplast capture from an extinct species
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Cherleria sedoides, a plant species widespread in alpine areas of the major European mountain ranges and in Scotland, contains two highly divergent chloroplast haplotype groups, one widespread (WH) and one present only in some populations in the Alps (AH). We investigated whether this haplotype diversity is the result of (1) intraspecific differentiation, (2) retention of an ancestral polymorphism or (3) hybridisation. For this purpose, 106 matK sequences from throughout the Caryophyllaceae and 80 trnQ-rps16 and psbD-trnT sequences of C. sedoides (51) and other species of Cherleria (29) were used for the construction of phylogenies and haplotype networks. As the two haplotype groups were never each other’s closest relatives, haplotype diversity as a result of intraspecific differentiation is unlikely. Patterns of genetic differentiation within the WH and AH groups are very different. Whereas WH shows a radial pattern typical of rapid expansion, AH is divided into two divergent subgroups each containing more variation than the WH group. This suggests that the two haplotype groups have dissimilar histories and are therefore unlikely to represent an ancestral polymorphism. Instead, we conclude that the polymorphism is best interpreted as the result of hybridisation. As the WH and AH haplotype groups fall into Cherleria, but do not group with any extant species, we conclude that the rare AH group represents the original C. sedoides, and that the WH group was captured from another, now extinct, species of Cherleria.
KeywordsAlps cpDNA Hybridisation Minuartia s.l. Range expansion
We thank Stephen Bungard, Jim McIntosh and Gordon Rothero for advice about suitable collection sites in Scotland, the staff of Scottish Natural Heritage (especially John Burrow, Tamara Lawton, Alexander Macdonald and Alex Turner) for approval to collect material in SSSIs and John Burton of Cononish farmhouse for facilitating our access to Ben Oss. FJV’s visit to Britain was made possible by a grant from the BSBI Science and Research Committee, and a stay of 4 months at the Institut für Spezielle Botanik und Botanischer Garten (Mainz, Germany) was supported by Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte (Programa de movilidad Jose Castillejo). For permission to collect in the Alps we thank Delphine Morandeau and Christine Lagarenne of the Ministère de l’Écologie, du Développement durable et de l’Énergie of France and Andrej Arih and Peter Skoberne of the Triglav National Park. For permission to collect in the northern Carpathians we thank Antoni Zięba of the Tatra National Park. We gratefully acknowledge Sulisława Borzyszkowska for helping us to obtain the permission to collect samples in Tatra National Park, Prof. Mária Höhn for her help in finding populations in the southern Carpathians, Prof. Vladimir Stevanović for information about localities of Cherleria sedoides in Balkans, Carmen G. Relinque for her assistance and company on collecting trips to Scotland and the Pyrenees and Natalie Schmalz for her company on the collecting trip to the northern Carpathians. We thank Maria Geyer (Mainz, Germany) for optimising the figures and four anonymous reviewers for their suggestions that improved the manuscript.
This study was funded by grants from the BSBI Science and Research Committee and the Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte (Programa de movilidad Jose Castillejo) to Francisco J. Valtueña.
Declaration of authorship
CDP, JWK and FJV designed the study. FJV (with CDP in Scotland) and MSD collected samples in the field and FJV performed the research. FJV, MSD and AJM analysed the data. All authors wrote the manuscript. FJV and AJM contributed equally to this publication.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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