Uniform genetic diversity, low differentiation, and neutral evolution characterize contemporary refuge populations of Taiwan fir (Abies kawakamii, Pinaceae)

Fu Lung Shih, Shih Ying Hwang, Yu Pin Cheng, Pei Fen Lee, Tsan Piao Lin

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Based on fossil pollen, the distribution range of Taiwan fir [Abies kawakamii (Hay.) Ito] (Pinaceae) is smaller than it was 50 000 years ago. To characterize the present refuge populations of A. kawakamii, which survive only in subalpine forests in Taiwan, we surveyed nuclear genes and chloroplast intergenic spacers to assess the genetic diversity of Taiwan fir. Populations maintain high genetic diversity and contain similar numbers of haplotypes for the GapC (cytosolic glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase) fragment. Haplotypes for GapC are generally widespread, and population-specific haplotypes accounted for 2.5% of the total. Differentiation among populations is very low (GST = 0.01). Only three haplotypes were detected for the cpDNA marker, and every population had one or two haplotypes. In a neutrality test, the variation in nucleotides did not deviate from that expected with neutral evolution for either marker. A retreat route to higher elevations was not evident from either the GapC or cpDNA markers. Hsuehshan was the site of the most divergent population in Taiwan. We concluded that uniform genetic diversity, low differentiation, low numbers of population-specific haplotypes, and neutral evolution characterize contemporary refuge populations of Taiwan fir.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-202
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Feb 1



  • Abies kawakamii
  • Genetic divergence
  • Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase
  • Phylogeography
  • Pinaceae
  • Refugium
  • Taiwan
  • trnL-trnF intergenic spacer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science

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