Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 130, Issue 2, pp 263–271 | Cite as

Genetic structure of Hepatica nobilis var. japonica, focusing on within population flower color polymorphism

  • Shinichiro Kameoka
  • Hitoshi Sakio
  • Harue Abe
  • Hajime Ikeda
  • Hiroaki Setoguchi
Regular Paper


How phenotypic or genetic diversity is maintained in a natural habitat is a fundamental question in evolutionary biology. Flower color polymorphism in plants is a common polymorphism. Hepatica nobilis var. japonica on the Sea of Japan (SJ) side of the Japanese mainland exhibits within population flower color polymorphism (e.g., white, pink, and purple), while only white flowers are observed on the Pacific Ocean (PO) side. To determine the relationships between flower color polymorphism, within and among populations, and the genetic structure of H. nobilis var. japonica, we estimated the genetic variation using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. First, we examined whether cryptic lineages corresponding to distinct flower colors contribute to the flower color polymorphisms in H. nobilis var. japonica. In our field observations, no bias in color frequency was observed among populations on Sado Island, a region with high variation in flower color. Simple sequence repeat (SSR) analyses revealed that 18% of the genetic variance was explained by differences among populations, whereas no genetic variation was explained by flower color hue or intensity (0% for both components). These results indicate that the flower color polymorphism is likely not explained by cryptic lineages that have different flower colors. In contrast, populations in the SJ and PO regions were genetically distinguishable. As with the other plant species in these regions, refugial isolation and subsequent migration history may have caused the genetic structure as well as the spatially heterogeneous patterns of flower color polymorphisms in H. nobilis var. japonica.


AMOVA Flower color polymorphism Hepatica Microsatellite Ranunculaceae STRUCTURE 

Supplementary material

10265_2016_893_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (95 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 95 KB)


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shinichiro Kameoka
    • 1
  • Hitoshi Sakio
    • 2
  • Harue Abe
    • 2
  • Hajime Ikeda
    • 3
  • Hiroaki Setoguchi
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept of Biology, Graduate School of Human and Environmental StudiesKyoto UniversitySakyokuJapan
  2. 2.Sado Station, Field center for sustainable agriculture and forestry, Faculty of agricultureNiigata UniversitySadoJapan
  3. 3.Institute of Plant Science and ResourcesOkayama UniversityKurashikiJapan

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