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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2006 Nov;41(2):405-19. Epub 2006 Jun 6.

Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of Picea (Pinaceae): implications for phylogeographical studies using cytoplasmic haplotypes.

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State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China.


The center of diversity is not necessarily the place of origin, as has been established by many plant molecular phylogenies. Picea is a complicated but very important genus in coniferous forests of the Northern Hemisphere, with a high species diversity in Asia. Its phylogeny and biogeography were investigated here using sequence analysis of the paternally inherited chloroplast trnC-trnD and trnT-trnF regions and the maternally inherited mitochondrial nad5 intron 1. We found that the North American P. breweriana and P. sitchensis were basal to the other spruces that were further divided into three clades in the cpDNA phylogeny, and that the New World species harbored four of five mitotypes detected, including two ancestral ones and three endemics. These results, combined with biogeographic analyses using DIVA and MacClade and fossil evidence, suggest that Picea originated in North America, and that its present distribution could stem from two times of dispersal from North America to Asia by the Beringian land bridge, and then from Asia to Europe. Most of the northeastern Asian species and the European P. abies could arise from a recent radiation given the very low interspecific genetic differentiation and pure mitotype of them. Considering that the ancestral mtDNA polymorphism can be preserved in many descendant species, even distantly related ones, we suggest that more species, at least the closely related ones, should be sampled in the phylogeographical study using cytoplasmic haplotypes if possible. In addition, we also discussed the evolution and phylogenetic utility of morphological characters in Picea.

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