Tree Genetics & Genomes

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 247–254 | Cite as

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

  • Tanja Pyhäjärvi
  • Matti J. Salmela
  • Outi Savolainen
Original Paper


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.


Pinus sylvestris Mitochondrial DNA Postglacial colonization 



We thank Katri Kärkkäinen, Leena Yrjänä, and Jukka Lehtonen from Finnish Forest Research Institute, Torgny Persson from The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden, Eduardo Notivol from SIA, and Aleksei Fedorkov from Russian Academy of Sciences, who have kindly provided us with the material. We thank Anna Palmé and Rosario García-Gil for their contribution and discussion on the manuscript. This research was supported by the National Graduate School for Population Genetics to TP, by the Thule Institute to MS and by the University of Oulu, and the Research Council for Biosciences and Environment to OS.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanja Pyhäjärvi
    • 1
  • Matti J. Salmela
    • 1
  • Outi Savolainen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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