J Syst Evol ›› 2014, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (3): 341-354.

• Research Articles •

Intraspecific differentiation of Allium wallichii (Amaryllidaceae) inferred from chloroplast DNA and internal transcribed spacer fragments

De-Qing HUANG   Qin-Qin LI   Chun-Jing ZHOU   Song-Dong ZHOU   Xing-Jin HE

1. (Key Laboratory of Bio-Resources and Eco-Environment of Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, China)
• Received:2013-03-12 Published:2014-05-09

Abstract: In the present study, we used two chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) fragments (trnL-F and rps16) and the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequence data to examine intraspecific differentiation and phylogeographical history of Allium wallichii. Based on wide scale sampling (28 populations and 174 individuals) across the entire distribution range of this species, 33 cpDNA haplotypes and 25 ITS ribotypes were detected in our investigation. These cpDNA haplotypes were divided into three major lineages, which was further supported by the ITS phylogenetic results. High haplotype/ribotype diversity and population differentiation, together with most of the haplotypes/ribotypes being exclusive to single populations, implied restricted gene flow among populations and significant geographical isolation. Nearly all populations with high haplotype/ribotype diversity were found in the Hengduan Mountain Region (HMR), whereas the populations of the Himalayas and Nanling Mountains showed a lower level, suggesting the HMR might serve as a potential divergence center for A. wallichii. The main lineages of A. wallichii diverged from each other between Mid–Late Pliocene and Early Quaternary based on two sets of molecular markers, indicating that the Quaternary climatic fluctuation could not have contributed greatly to the divergence of the main lineages of A. wallichii. Instead, the intricate topography and heterogeneous habitats resulting from the drastic uplift of the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau from the Late Pliocene could be responsible for the intraspecific differentiation of A. wallichii. The present study further highlights the importance of geographic isolation and habitat heterogeneity in shaping and maintaining high species diversity within the HMR.