Phylogeography of a northeast Asian spruce, Picea jezoensis, inferred from genetic variation observed in organelle DNA markers


M. Aizawa, Department of Forest Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Utsunomiya University, 350 Mine-machi, Utsunomiya, Tochigi 321-8505, Japan. Fax: 28-649-5545; E-mail:


Range-wide genetic variation of the widespread cold-temperate spruce Picea jezoensis was studied throughout northeast Asia using maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA and paternally inherited chloroplast DNA markers. This study assessed 33 natural populations including three varieties of the species in Japan, Russia, China, and South Korea. We depicted sharp suture zones in straits around Japan in the geographical distribution pattern of mitochondrial haplotypes (GST = 0.901; NST = 0.934). In contrast, we detected possible extensive pollen flow without seed flow across the straits around Japan during the past population history in the distribution pattern of chloroplast haplotypes (GST = 0.233; NST = 0.333). The analysis of isolation by distance of the species implied that by acting as a barrier for the movement of seeds and pollen, the sharp suture zones contributed considerably to the level of genetic differentiation between populations. Constructed networks of mitochondrial haplotypes allowed inference of the phylogeographical history of the species. We deduced that the disjunction with Kamchatka populations reflects range expansion and contraction to the north of the current distribution. Within Japan, we detected phylogeographically different types of P. jezoensis between Hokkaido and Honshu islands; P. jezoensis in Honshu Island may have colonized this region from the Asian continent via the Korean peninsula and the species in Hokkaido Island is likely to have spread from the Asian continent via Sakhalin through land bridges. Japanese endemism of mitochondrial haplotypes in Hokkaido and Honshu islands might have been promoted by separation of these islands from each other and from the Asian continent by the straits during the late Quaternary.