J Syst Evol ›› 2020, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (4): 474-486.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12520

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Population history of European mountain pines Pinus mugo and Pinus uncinata revealed by mitochondrial DNA markers

Julia Zaborowska1*, Bartosz Łabiszak1, and Witold Wachowiak1,2   

  1. 1Institute of Environmental Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Uniwersytetu Poznanskiego 6, 61‐614 Poznan, Poland
    2Institute of Dendrology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Parkowa 5, 62‐035 Kornik, Poland
  • Received:2019-03-15 Accepted:2019-05-22 Online:2019-06-06 Published:2020-07-01


The dwarf mountain pine (Pinus mugo ) and the Pyrenean pine (P. uncinata ) constitute a pair of closely related coniferous taxa of poorly resolved evolutionary history and affinity, which inhabit numerous stands scattered over subalpine environments of European mountain ranges. The aim of the study was to investigate their phylogeography and mutual relationships, shedding new light on their taxonomy and the past of the alpine flora. Previous evolutionary reconstructions of the mountain pines relied mainly on bi‐parentally or paternally inherited markers that quickly homogenize between populations, showing rather shallow and recent differentiation of gene pools. Therefore, to contrast these pictures, we analyzed diversity and differentiation within a large set of new mitochondrial loci, inherited in maternal line and distributed by seeds at short geographical distances. Samples of the taxa were taken from 27 natural populations representing their range‐wide distributions—17 populations of P. mugo and 10 of P. uncinata . All markers appeared polymorphic, providing a total of 31 multilocus haplotypes. Two of the loci proved to be species‐diagnostic and nearly fixed between analyzed samples. Distribution of mitotypes indicate that allopatric populations of the taxa constitute separate mitochondrial haplogroups, and the two mountain pines have independent evolutionary history. However, introgression of P. mugo mitotypes by P. uncinata specimens revealed in the species contact zone in Western Alps shows that their speciation is not fully completed.

Key words: introgression, mitochondrial DNA, phylogeography, Pinus mugo, Pinus uncinata, subalpine taxa