Tree Genetics & Genomes

, 13:73 | Cite as

Genetic divergence within the monotypic tree genus Platycarya (Juglandaceae) and its implications for species’ past dynamics in subtropical China

  • Qiuchi Wan
  • Zhuo Zheng
  • Kangyou Huang
  • Erwan Guichoux
  • Rémy J. Petit
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Taxonomy


Subtropical East Asia harbours a large plant diversity that is often attributed to allopatric speciation in this topographically complex region characterized by a relative climate stability. Here, we use observations of Platycarya, a widespread subtropical Asian tree genus, to explore the consequences of past climate stability on species’ evolutionary history in subtropical China. This genus has a controversial taxonomy: while it is now prevailingly treated as monotypic, two species have been originally described, Platycarya strobilacea and P. longipes. Previous information from species distribution models, fossil pollen data and genetic data based on chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) were integrated with newly obtained genetic data from the two putative species. We used both cpDNA (psbA-trnH and trnL-F intergenic spacers, including a partial trnL gene sequence) and nuclear markers. The latter included sequences of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS1–5.8S–ITS2) of the nuclear ribosomal DNA and random genomic single nucleotide polymorphisms. Using these nuclear genetic markers, we found interspecific genetic divergence fitting with the ‘two species’ scenario and geographically structured intraspecific variation. Using cpDNA markers, we also found geographically structured intraspecific variation. Despite deep inter- and intraspecific genetic divergence, we detected genetic admixture in southwest China. Overall, our findings of genetic divergence within Platycarya support the hypothesis of allopatric speciation. However, episodes of population interconnection were identified, at least in southwest China, suggesting that the genus has had a dynamic population history.


Allopatric speciation Last Glacial Maximum Plant diversity Platycarya Quaternary Subtropical China 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 41230101), by the 7th Framework Program of the EC under the Trees4Future project (Trees4Future, 284181) and by the China Scholarship Council. The experiments dealing with the identification and genotyping of SNPs were performed at the Genome Transcriptome Facility of Bordeaux (grants from the Conseil Regional d’Aquitaine no. 20030304002FA and 20040305003FA and from the European Union, FEDER no. 2003227 and from Investissements d’avenir, Convention attributive d’aide EquipEx Xyloforest ANR-10-EQPX-16-01 and LabEx COTE ANR-10-LABX-45). The authors would like to thank Zhong Z. Zhou, Qiang Fan, Christophe Boury, Patrick Leger, Adline Delcamp and Mei L. Man for their help with the experiments. We also thank Zhe M. Hu, Yuan Z. Wu, Alexis Ducousso and members of the palynology team in Sun Yat-sen University for collecting the leaf samples. Thanks are also given to Olivier Lepais for guidance with the exploration of ddRAD sequence data and to the reviewers as well as to the associate editor for their constructive comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.

Data archiving statement

All data will be deposited in NCBI upon acceptance of this ms.

Supplementary material

11295_2017_1153_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.6 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1610 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth Science and Geological EngineeringSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.BIOGECO, INRAUniversity of BordeauxCestasFrance

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