Conservation Genetics

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 1045–1056 | Cite as

Genetic evidence of the southward founder speciation of Cycas taitungensis from ancestral C. revoluta along the Ryukyu Archipelagos

  • Jui-Tse Chang
  • Bing-Hong Huang
  • Pei-Chun LiaoEmail author
Research Article


Cycas taitungensis and its sister species, C. revoluta (Cycas sect. Asiorientalis), are distributed peripatrically. Previous studies have revealed their phylogeographic pattern and, based on certain plastid DNA markers, have established that they diverged recently. However, the speciation process involving the genomic divergence has not been well clarified. In this study, based on their geographical distribution and estimates of their genetic diversity, two speciation models are proposed: (1) the founder and (2) the bottleneck speciation mode. Using approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) in combination with their estimated genetic diversity and population structure, we infer that the ancestral C. taitungensis populations diverged and southward colonized southeastern Taiwan from ancestral C. revoluta since the middle Pleistocene. These founders preserved ancestral polymorphism, resulting in small differences in genetic diversity and effective population size (Ne), despite a large difference in census population size (Nc) between two species. Based on this case of island cycad species offshore of continental Asia, this study provides new insight into how the speciation process influences the genetic diversity pattern of species with small Nc and Ne.


AFLP Asiorientalis Founder event Census population size Continental islands Effective population size 



We would like to thank Chung-Wei You for his helpful sampling of C. revoluta among the Ryukyu Islands. We thank the National Center for Genome Medicine of the National Core Facility Program for Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, for technical and bioinformatics support. We acknowledge Chih-Chieh Yu and Hsiao-Lei Liu for the suggestion of contents. We also thank Dr. Hubert Turner for English editing of the manuscript. This research was financially supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan (Grant Number: MOST 105–2628-B-003–001-MY3 and MOST 105–2628-B-003–002-MY3) and was also subsidized by National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), Taiwan.

Author contributions

JTC and PCL conceived the project and collected field samples. JTC conducted genetic experiments, performed statistical analyses, interpreted the data, and wrote the manuscript. BHH assisted in the genetic diversity and evolutionary analyses. PCL critically reviewed the draft. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10592_2019_1193_MOESM1_ESM.tif (94 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (TIFF 93 kb) Supplementary Fig. 1 Isolation by distance (IBD) result by Mantel test. The pairwise correlation between genetic and geographical distance shows the non-significant result.
10592_2019_1193_MOESM2_ESM.tif (146 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (TIFF 146 kb) Supplementary Fig. 2 The ln(K) and delta K plots.
10592_2019_1193_MOESM3_ESM.tif (690 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (TIFF 689 kb) Supplementary Fig. 3 The population structure analysis from K = 5 to K = 10 with 1 million MCMC times and 10% burn-in.
10592_2019_1193_MOESM4_ESM.docx (22 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (DOCX 21 kb) Supplementary Table 1. The prior setting of two evolutionary scenarios. A) Bottleneck hypothesis B) Founder hypothesis. Ne, rel, m, GAMMA and rec refer to the effective population size, relative rate, migration rate, gamma distribution (for estimating recombination and mutation rate) and recombination rate.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life ScienceNational Taiwan Normal UniversityTaipei CityTaiwan

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