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Heredity (Edinb). 2003 Sep;91(3):314-21.

Intercontinental genetic divergence of Castanea species in eastern Asia and eastern North America.

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  • 1Department of Horticulture, Auburn University, AL, USA.


Castanea is one of the many plant genera with a disjunct distribution pattern between eastern Asia and eastern North America. Five species from three sections of the genus were investigated to examine genetic divergence between eastern Asian and eastern North American species. A total of 62 native populations were sampled for allelic variation at isozyme loci. The Chinese chestnut C. mollissima had the highest genetic variability, while the American C. dentata had the lowest genetic variability. The highest intracontinental genetic identities were observed between the Allegheny and Ozark chinkapins (0.931) and between C. mollissima and C. seguinii (0.870), while lower identities were detected between the American C. pumila and C. dentata (0.720-0.729). In intercontinental comparisons, genetic identities of 0.505, 0.495 and 0.507 were observed between the American chestnut and the Chinese C. mollissima, C. seguinii and C. henryi, respectively, whereas the Ozark chinkapin C. pumila var. ozarkensis had lower identities of 0.469, and 0.435 with C. mollissima and C. seguinii, respectively, but a slightly higher identity of 0.520 with C. henryi, the Chinese chinkapin. Divergence times were estimated at 10-13 million years before present between C. dentata and C. mollissima, and C. pumila var. ozarkensis and C. henryi.

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