Genetic variation in the atpB-rbcL intergenic spacer region of chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) was investigated in Hygrophila pogonocalyx Hayata (Acanthaceae), an endangered and endemic species in Taiwan. In this aquatic species, seed dispersal from capsules via elasticity is constrained by gravity and is thereby confined within populations, resulting in limited gene flow between populations. In this study, a total of 849 bp of the cpDNA atpB-rbcL spacer were sequenced from eight populations of H. pogonocalyx. Nucleotide diversity in the cpDNA is low (θ=0.00343±0.00041). The distribution of genetic variation among populations agrees with an "isolation-by-distance" model. Two geographically correlated groups, the western and eastern regions, were identified in a neighbor-joining tree and a minimum-spanning network. Phylogeographical analyses based on the cpDNA network suggest that the present-day differentiation between western and eastern groups of H. pogonocalyx resulted from past fragmentation. The differentiation between eastern and western populations may be ascribed to isolation since the formation of the Central Mountain Range about 5 million years ago, which is consistent with the rate estimates based on a molecular clock of cpDNA.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science