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Contrasting demographic history and population structure in Capsella rubella and Capsella grandiflora, two closely related species with different mating systems


Anna Palmé, Fax: +46 (0)18 471 64 57; E-mail:


Both mating system and population history can have large impacts on genetic diversity and population structure. Here, we use multilocus sequence data to investigate how these factors impact two closely related Brassicaceae species: the selfing Capsella rubella and the outcrossing C. grandiflora. To do this, we have sequenced 16 loci in approximately 70 individuals from 7 populations of each species. Patterns of population structure differ strongly between the two species. In C. grandiflora, we observe an isolation-by-distance pattern and identify three clearly delineated genetic groups. In C. rubella, where we estimate the selfing rate to be 0.90–0.94, the pattern is less clear with some sampling populations forming separate genetic clusters while others are highly mixed. The two species also have divergent histories. Our analysis gives support for a bottleneck approximately 73 kya (20–139 kya) in C. rubella, which most likely represents speciation from C. grandiflora. In C. grandiflora, there is moderate support for the standard neutral model in 2 of 3 genetic clusters, while the third cluster and the total data set show evidence of expansion. It is clear that mating system has an impact on these two species, for example affecting the level of genetic variation and the genetic structure. However, our results also clearly show that a combination of past and present processes, some of which are not affected by mating system, is needed to explain the differences between C. rubella and C. grandiflora.