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    Low genetic diversity and population connectivity fuel vulnerability to climate change for the Tertiary relict pine Pinus bungeana
    Jing‐Fang Guo, Baosheng Wang, Zhan‐Lin Liu, Jian‐Feng Mao, Xiao‐Ru Wang, and Wei Zhao
    J Syst Evol 2023, 61 (1): 143-156.  
    doi: 10.1111/jse.12821

    Endemic species are important components of regional biodiversity and hold the key to understanding local adaptation and evolutionary processes that shape species distributions. This study investigated the biogeographic history of a relict conifer Pinus bungeana Zucc. ex Endl. confined to central China. We examined genetic diversity in P. bungeana using genotyping-by-sequencing and chloroplast and mitochondrial DNA markers. We performed spatial and temporal inference of recent genetic and demographic changes, and dissected the impacts of geography and environmental gradients on population differentiation. We then projected P. bungeana's risk of decline under future climates. We found extremely low nucleotide diversity (average π 0.0014), and strong population structure (global FST 0.234) even at regional scales, reflecting long-term isolation in small populations. The species experienced severe bottlenecks in the early Pliocene and continued to decline in the Pleistocene in the western distribution, whereas the east expanded recently. Local adaptation played a small (8%) but significant role in population diversity. Low genetic diversity in fragmented populations makes the species highly vulnerable to climate change, particularly in marginal and relict populations. We suggest that conservation efforts should focus on enhancing gene pool and population growth through assisted migration within each genetic cluster to reduce the risk of further genetic drift and extinction.

    Chloroplast phylogenomics of unicellular and colonial Volvocales provides perspectives on the evolution of morphological characters
    Xi Li, Xuan Shi, Hong Cheng, Shi‐Yu Zhang, Zhi‐Ping Yang, Xiao‐Ya Ma, and Bo‐Jian Zhong
    J Syst Evol 2023, 61 (1): 127-142.  
    doi: 10.1111/jse.12824

    Volvocales forms a species-rich clade with wide morphological variety and is regarded as an ideal model for tracing the evolutionary transitions in multicellularity. The phylogenetic relationships among the colonial volvocine algae and its relatives are important for investigating the origin of multicellularity in the clade Reinhardtinia. Therefore, a robust phylogenetic framework of the unicellular and colonial volvocine algae with broad taxon and gene sampling is essential for illuminating the evolution of multicellularity. Recent chloroplast phylogenomic studies have uncovered five major orders in the Chlorophyceae, but the family-level relationships within Sphaeropleales and Volvocales remain elusive due to the uncertain positions of some incertae sedis taxa. In this study, we contributed six newly sequenced chloroplast genomes in the Volvocales and analyzed a dataset with 91 chlorophycean taxa and 58 protein-coding genes. Conflicting phylogenetic signals were detected among chloroplast genes that resulted in discordant tree topologies among different analyses. We compared the phylogenetic trees inferred from original nucleotide, RY-coding, codon-degenerate, and amino acid datasets, and improved the robustness of phylogenetic inference in the Chlorophyceae by reducing base compositional bias. Our analyses indicate that the unicellular Chlamydomonas and Vitreochlamys are close to or nested within the colonial taxa, and all the incertae sedis taxa are nested within the monophyletic Sphaeropleales s.l. We propose that the colonial taxa in the Reinhardtinia are paraphyletic and multicellularity evolved once in the volvocine green algae and might be lost in Chlamydomonas and Vitreochlamys.

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