Extremely low nucleotide polymorphism in Pinus krempfii Lecomte, a unique flat needle pine endemic to Vietnam



Pinus krempfii Lecomte is a morphologically and ecologically unique pine, endemic to Vietnam. It is regarded as vulnerable species with distribution limited to just two provinces: Khanh Hoa and Lam Dong. Although a few phylogenetic studies have included this species, almost nothing is known about its genetic features. In particular, there are no studies addressing the levels and patterns of genetic variation in natural populations of P. krempfii. In this study, we sampled 57 individuals from six natural populations of P. krempfii and analyzed their sequence variation in ten nuclear gene regions (approximately 9 kb) and 14 mitochondrial (mt) DNA regions (approximately 10 kb). We also analyzed variation at seven chloroplast (cp) microsatellite (SSR) loci. We found very low haplotype and nucleotide diversity at nuclear loci compared with other pine species. Furthermore, all investigated populations were monomorphic across all mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) regions included in our study, which are polymorphic in other pine species. Population differentiation at nuclear loci was low (5.2%) but significant. However, structure analysis of nuclear loci did not detect genetically differentiated groups of populations. Approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) using nuclear sequence data and mismatch distribution analysis for cpSSR loci suggested recent expansion of the species. The implications of these findings for the management and conservation of P. krempfii genetic resources were discussed.