Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 128, Issue 2, pp 269–282 | Cite as

Phylogeographical structure inferred from cpDNA sequence variation of Zygophyllum xanthoxylon across north-west China

  • Xiao-Jun Shi
  • Ming-Li Zhang
Regular Paper


Zygophyllum xanthoxylon, a desert species, displaying a broad east–west continuous distribution pattern in arid Northwestern China, can be considered as a model species to investigate the biogeographical history of this region. We sequenced two chloroplast DNA spacers (psbK-psbI and rpl32-trnL) in 226 individuals from 31 populations to explore the phylogeographical structure. Median-joining network was constructed and analysis of AMOVA, SMOVA, neutrality tests and distribution analysis were used to examine genetic structure and potential range expansion. Using species distribution modeling, the geographical distribution of Z. xanthoxylon was modeled during the present and at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Among 26 haplotypes, one was widely distributed, but most was restricted to either the eastern or western region. The populations with the highest levels of haplotype diversity were found in the Tianshan Mountains and its surroundings in the west, and the Helan Mountains and Alxa Plateau in the east. AMOVA and SAMOVA showed that over all populations, the species lacks phylogeographical structure, which is speculated to be the result of its specific biology. Neutrality tests and mismatch distribution analysis support past range expansions of the species. Comparing the current distribution to those cold and dry conditions in LGM, Z. xanthoxylon had a shrunken and more fragmented range during LGM. Based on the evidences from phylogeographical patterns, distribution of genetic variability, and paleodistribution modeling, Z. xanthoxylon is speculated most likely to have originated from the east and migrated westward via the Hexi Corridor.


Phylogeography Diversification Zygophyllum xanthoxylon Last glacial maximum Northwest China 



We thank Jian Zhang and Hong-Hu Meng for help of the field collection, to Zhi-Hao Su and Hong-Xiang Zhang (Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, CAS) for their kindly help about molecular data analyses. We also thank Stewart C. Sanderson (Shrub Sciences Laboratory, Intermountain Research Station, Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture, Utah) for his useful suggestion and English correction to the manuscript. This study is financially supported by Innovation Research Group Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences and State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs of China (KZCX2-YW-T09), National Basic Research Special Program of China (2012FY111500), State International Science and Technology Cooperation Program of China (2010DFA92720), and Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Supplementary material

10265_2014_699_MOESM1_ESM.doc (187 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 187 kb)


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© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Biogeography and Bioresource in Arid Land, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Institute of BotanyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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