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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 62(2)

Unravelling the evolutionary history of Eucalyptus cordata (Myrtaceae) using molecular markers

Peter A. Harrison A B, Rebecca C. Jones A, René E. Vaillancourt A, Robert J. E. Wiltshire A and Brad M. Potts A

A School of Biological Sciences and National Centre for Future Forest Industries, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, Tas. 7001, Australia.
B Corresponding author. Email: P.A.Harrison@utas.edu.au

Australian Journal of Botany 62(2) 114-131 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/BT14019
Submitted: 6 February 2014  Accepted: 16 March 2014   Published: 5 May 2014

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We studied the evolutionary processes shaping the genetic diversity in the naturally fragmented Eucalyptus cordata, a rare homoblastic tree endemic to the island of Tasmania. A genome-wide scan showed that E. cordata and the endangered heteroblastic E. morrisbyi were closely related, suggesting a neotenous origin of E. cordata from an endemic heteroblastic ancestor. Bayesian cluster analysis based on nuclear microsatellites assayed in 567 E. cordata and E. morrisbyi individuals revealed five genetic clusters. Two clusters comprised populations that correspond to putative ancestral gene pools linking E. cordata and E. morrisbyi. Another cluster included populations that transgressed the drowned Derwent River valley, suggestive of a wider glacial distribution. However, the majority of individuals occurred in the two genetic clusters distributed in the south-west and north-east of the range of E. cordata. The elevated genetic diversity in populations comprising these clusters suggests that they represent two recently fragmented cores of the distribution. Genetic evidence suggests that the newly described, localised E. cordata subspecies quadrangulosa has been recently selected from within the morphologically diverse, south-western cluster. We argue that multiple phases of isolation and drift have led to the contemporary pattern of molecular variation and the scattering of relictual and more recently derived populations across the species distribution.

Additional keywords: Diversity Array Technology (DArT), Eucalyptus, gene flow, genetic drift, heteroblastic, homoblastic, microsatellite, spatial genetic structuring.


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