Phylogeographical and mismatch analysis of chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) variation were used to infer the temporal dynamics of distributional and demographic history of Taiwan fir (Cunninghamia konishii). We examined 64 and 52 trees from 17 populations of C. konishii and 14 provenances of C. lanceolata, respectively, by sequencing three intergenic spacers and one intron using cpDNA universal primers. Of the aligned 1888 base pairs (bp) sequence, 30 varied among 28 haplotypes, which consisted of three transitions, 14 transversions and 13 indels. One ancestral haplotype was found in 86 individuals across the surveyed range of both species, C. konishii and C. lanceolata, which was distributed in all populations and provenances. The 28 haplotypes also included 15 C. konishii specific and 12 C. lanceolata-specific haplotypes. Ancestral haplotype was found fixed in five populations of C. konishii and five provenances of C. lanceolata. Other haplotypes occurred mainly as singletons. The levels of population differentiation studied are relatively low in both Cunninghamia species. The nucleotide diversity (θ) of chloroplast DNA sequences within C. konishii was slightly higher than that of C. lanceolata. Excess in singletons as well as star-like phylogeny of haplotypes suggested no clearcut migration patterns of C. konishii after glacial maximum. One probable demographic history of C. konishii is the postglacial population growth of C. konishii after a glacial bottleneck event. This inference is supported by the combined results of fossil pollen record, low nucleotide diversity, significant Tajima's D-value, phylogeographical analysis and unimodal mismatch distribution. Similarities and discrepancies between our results and those of Lu et al. (2001) are discussed.
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