Genetic diversity and microgeographic differentiation of Yushan cane (Yushania niitakayamensis; Poaceae) in Taiwan


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Yushan cane (Yushania niitakayamensis) is distributed in southeast Asia. In Taiwan, the species occurs in mountains 1000–3600 m above sea level. The species appears to spread mainly by rhizomes and flowers only rarely. Nine locations across its distribution range in Taiwan were sampled. Locations at higher altitudes generally consist of grassland and forest undergrowth habitats while those of lower altitudes generally consist of forest undergrowth only. Thus two sampling sites (montane grassland and forest undergrowth) were selected from each location at higher altitudes while only one sampling site was selected from each location at lower altitudes, resulting in a total of 13 sampling sites. Within each sampling site, 20 individual plants were sampled. The results of the cluster analysis and the principal coordinate analysis based on random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) indicated that the populations are generally differentiated according to geographical separation and altitudinal differences that interrupt gene flow. The populations at higher altitudes, where the species is distributed somewhat contiguously, were found to be more similar genetically. Analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) revealed that the among-location, between sampling sites within location, and among individuals within sampling site components accounted for 15.27%, 4.80% and 79.93% of the total variance, respectively. For locations with two sampling sites, two-level AMOVA revealed that the diversities between sampling sites (sun and shade habitats) within locations ranged from 2.91% to 7.99% of the total diversity. Random permutation tests revealed that these diversities were significant, implying that there is microgeographic differentiation due to habitat differences.