Gene paralogy frequently causes the conflict between gene tree and species tree, but sometimes the coexistence of a few paralogous copies could provide more markers for tracing the phylogeographical process of some organisms. In the present study, nrDNA ITS paralogues were cloned from all but one species of Larix, an Eocene genus having two sections, Larix and Multiserialis, with a huge circumboreal distribution and an Eastern Asia–Western North America disjunction, respectively. A total of 96 distinct clones, excluding five putative pseudogenes or recombinants, were obtained and used in the gene genealogy analysis. The clones from all Eurasian species of section Larix are mixed together, suggesting that recolonization and recent morphological differentiation could have played important roles in the evolution of this section. In contrast, the species diversification of the Eurasian section Multiserialis may result from radiation in the east Himalayas and its vicinity, considering extensive nrDNA founder effects in this group. Our study also suggests that the distribution pattern analysis of members of multiple gene family would be very useful in tracking the evolutionary history of some taxa with recent origin or rapid radiation that cannot be resolved by other molecular markers.
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