Tropical Plant Biology

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 4–13

Chloroplast DNA Polymorphism and Phylogeography of a Central African Tree Species Widespread in Mature Rainforests: Greenwayodendron suaveolens (Annonaceae)

  • Gilles Dauby
  • Jérôme Duminil
  • Myriam Heuertz
  • Olivier J. Hardy


Geographic patterns of genetic variation at chloroplast markers have been successfully used to address the phylogeography and the demographic history of many plant species. Very few studies have however been conducted in important tropical centers of plant biodiversity like the African rainforests. The phylogeography of a tree species widespread in Central African mature forests, Greenwayodendron suaveolens subsp. suaveolens (Annonaceae), was investigated in the Lower Guinea phytogeographic domain (essentially Gabon and Cameroon) by sequencing an intergenic spacer of the chloroplast genome (trnC-petN1R). A total of 11 polymorphic sites, including nine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), two insertions/deletions and two inversions, defined 12 haplotypes. The taxon is represented by two sympatric varieties (var. suaveolens and var. gabonica) that carried distinct and relatively divergent haplotypes. These varieties, also well distinguishable morphologically, might therefore represent true biological species. The variety suaveolens, more common and more widespread than the variety gabonica, was represented by ten haplotypes. This taxon showed a weak but statistically significant phylogeographic structure, indicating that two sets of related haplotypes essentially occurred respectively in the northern and the southern hemispheres. These results suggest that the distribution of Greenwayodendron suaveolens subsp. suaveolens, which is currently continuous in the Lower Guinea domain, might have been more fragmented in the past, possibly in relation with Pleistocene forest fragmentation.


African rainforest Chloroplast DNA sequencing Lower Guinea domain Phylogeography Pleistocene refuge theory 

Supplementary material

12042_2010_9041_MOESM1_ESM.doc (82 kb)
Supplementary materialSampled populations of Greenwayodendron suaveolens and their cpDNA haplotypes composition. Geographic coordinates are given in decimal degrees (minus sign for southern hemisphere). (DOC 82 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gilles Dauby
    • 1
  • Jérôme Duminil
    • 1
    • 2
  • Myriam Heuertz
    • 1
    • 3
  • Olivier J. Hardy
    • 1
  1. 1.Evolutionary Biology and Ecology CP 160/12, Faculté des SciencesUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Foresterie des Régions tropicales et subtropicales. Unité de Gestion des Ressources forestières et des Milieux naturelsGembloux Agro-Bio Tech. Université de LiègeGemblouxBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Biodiversity and ConservationReal Jardín Botánico, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasMadridSpain

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