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Molecular signals for Late Tertiary/Early Quaternary range splits of an Eurasian steppe plant: Clausia aprica (Brassicaceae)

Authors


H. Hurka. Fax: 49-541-969-3171; E-mail: Herbert.Hurka@biologie.uni-osnabrueck.de

Abstract

Several vegetation belts stretch continuously from Europe to Asia, taiga and steppe being most prominent. Numerous plant species within these belts share a conspicuous distribution area, which is longitudinally contracted or disrupted approximately along longitude 70° E. To date no hypothesis for this intriguing distribution pattern has been put forward. We detected molecular footprints in the contemporary genetic composition in nuclear DNA (ITS1, ITS2) and chloroplast DNA (trnL–trnF spacer region) of the steppe element Clausia aprica (Brassicaceae) providing evidence for a severe longitudinal range split and genetic differentiation east of the Ural Mountains about 1 million years ago caused by Quaternary climatic oscillations. Clausia aprica provides the first phylogeographical analysis on the intraspecific evolution of an Eurasian steppe plant.

Ancillary