• demographic expansion;
  • genetic variation;
  • haplotype;
  • phylogeography;
  • Sundaland


We assessed the variability of chloroplast DNA sequences in populations of the dipterocarp forest tree, Shorea curtisii. This species is widely distributed in hill and coastal hill dipterocarp forests of the Malay Peninsula, whereas isolated populations are found in the coastal hills of north Borneo. Two chloroplast DNA regions (1555 bp of trnH-psbA-trnK and 925 bp of trnL-trnF) were sequenced from 123 individuals collected from six Malay Peninsula and two Bornean populations. There were 15 chloroplast haplotypes derived from 16 polymorphic sites. A haplotype network revealed two distinct haplogroups that correlate with two geographic regions, the Malay Peninsula and Borneo. These two haplogroups differed by a number of mutations, and no haplotypes were shared between populations from the different geographic regions. This suggests an ancient diversification of these haplogroups, and that long-distance seed dispersal was unlikely to have occurred during the Pleistocene when the Sunda Shelf was a contiguous landmass. Phylogenetic analysis of the haplotypes together with those found in other Shorea species showed that two haplogroups in S. curtisii appear in different positions of the phylogenetic tree. This could be explained by the persistence of ancestral polymorphisms or by ancient chloroplast capture. Low levels of genetic differentiation were found between populations within each geographic region. Signature of a bottleneck followed by demographic expansion was detected in the Malay Peninsula haplogroup. The presence of two distinct evolutionary lineages in the different regions suggests that they should be managed independently to conserve the major sources of genetic diversity in S. curtisii.