- •Even in cases in which geographic isolation appears to have driven the speciation of regional endemics, range shifts during the Pleistocene climatic oscillations may also have influenced their evolutionary history. Elucidating speciation history can provide novel insights into evolutionary dynamics following climatic oscillations.
- •We demonstrated a sister relationship between the Japanese alpine endemic Cardamine nipponica and the currently allopatric, widespread arctic-alpine Cardamine bellidifolia (Brassicaceae) based on internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences and 10 other nuclear genes. Speciation history was inferred using demographic parameters under the isolation with migration model.
- •The estimated demographic parameters showed that the population size of C. nipponica was similar to that of C. bellidifolia and that gene flow occurred exclusively from C. nipponica to C. bellidifolia after speciation.
- •The inferred speciation history, which included gene flow, suggests that geographic barriers between the peripheral C. nipponica and the widespread C. bellidifolia were reduced during the Pleistocene. The asymmetric introgression implies that genetic isolation may have been involved in the speciation of C. nipponica. Our results suggest that even currently allopatric species may not have diverged solely under geographic isolation, and that their evolutionary history may have been influenced by Pleistocene range dynamics.