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Keywords:

  • AFLPs ;
  • chloroplast DNA ;
  • phylogeography ;
  • refugia

Range shifts during the Pleistocene shaped the unique phylogeographical structures of numerous species. Accompanying species migration, sister taxa may have experienced multiple introgression events. Here, we report the signature of introgression events in multiple areas in Schizocodon, herbs endemic to Japan, using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) fingerprinting and plastid DNA haplotyping in 48 populations. Although the present distributions of S. soldanelloides and S. ilicifolius are mainly allopatric, the species share plastid DNA haplotypes in each region (north-eastern, north-central, south-central and south-western Japan); in contrast, the specific groups were highly supported by AFLP analyses. These results support the occurrence of multiple introgression events in Schizocodon. Notably, the disjunct plastid haplotypes found only in S. ilicifolius var. intercedens suggest complete plastid DNA replacement at local areas from S. soldanelloides into S. ilicifolius var. ilicifolius. Furthermore, we found that S. soldanelloides experienced range contraction and expansion during glacial and interglacial cycles based on mismatch distribution analysis and ecological niche modelling. Based on several pieces of evidence, our study supports the idea that historical range shifts associated with Pleistocene climatic oscillations favoured multiple and regional introgression events in Schizocodon. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2013, 173, 46–63.