Background and Aims The evolution of selfing is one of the most common transitions in flowering plants, and this change in mating pattern has important systematic and ecological consequences because it often initiates reproductive isolation and speciation. Petunia axillaris (Solanaceae) includes three allopatric subspecies widely distributed in temperate South America that present different degrees of self-compatibity and incompatibility. One of these subspecies is co-distributed with P. exserta in a restricted area and presents a complex, not well-understood mating system. Artificial crossing experiments suggest a complex system of mating in this sympatric area. The main aims of this study were to estimate the pollen dispersal distance and to evaluate the breeding structure of P. axillaris subsp. axillaris, a hawkmoth-pollinated taxon from this sympatric zone.
Methods Pollen dispersal distance was compared with nearest-neighbours distance, and the differentiation in the pollen pool among mother plants was estimated. In addition, the correlation between genetic differentiation and spatial distance among plants was tested. All adult individuals (252) within a space of 2800 m2 and 15 open-pollinated progeny (285 seedlings) were analysed. Genetic analyses were based on 12 polymorphic microsatellite loci.
Key Results A high proportion of self-pollination was found, indicating a mixed-mating system. The maximum pollen dispersal distance was 1013 m, but most pollination events (96 %) occurred at a distance of 0 m, predominantly in an inbreeding system. Both parents among sampled individuals could be identifed in 60–85 % of the progeny.
Conclusions The results show that most pollen dispersal in the hawkmoth-pollinated P. axillaris subsp. axillaris occurs within populations and there is a high proportion of inbreeding. This mating system appears to favour species integrity in a secondary contact zone with the congener species P. exserta.
Pollen dispersal; breeding structure; Petunia axillaris; P. exserta; Solanaceae; Pampas; selfing; inbreeding; genetic structure; microsatellites; hawkmoth pollination; gene flow
Petunia secreta is a rare and endemic species, that was found in two different landscapes, approximately 21 Km apart from each other. In this study we showed that P. secreta presented high genetic diversity that was equivalent to or even higher than that of widespread Petunia species. Two evolutionary lineages were found and they are correlated to the different landscapes where P. secreta grows: open areas in conglomerate sandstone towers at an elevation of approximately 300-400 m or along the road growing in an open vegetation flat area. Therefore the major risk to P. secreta maintenance is its rarity, suggesting the necessity of a preservation program.
The analysis of genetic structure and variability of isolated species is of critical importance in evaluating whether stochastic or human-caused factors are affecting rare species. Low genetic diversity compromises the ability of populations to evolve and reduces their chances of survival under environmental changes. Petunia secreta, a rare and endemic species, is an annual and heliophilous herb that is bee-pollinated and easily recognizable by its purple and salverform corolla. It was described as a new species of the Petunia genus in 2005. Few individuals of P. secreta have been observed in nature and little is known about this species. All the natural populations of P. secreta that were found were studied using 15 microsatellite loci, two intergenic plastid sequences and morphological traits. Statistical analysis was performed to describe the genetic diversity of this rare species and the results compared with those of more widespread and frequent Petunia species from the same geographic area to understand whether factors associated with population size could affect rare species of this genus. The results showed that despite its rarity, P. secreta presented high genetic diversity that was equivalent to or even higher than that of widespread Petunia species. It was shown that this species is divided into two evolutionary lineages, and the genetic differentiation indices between them and other congeneric species presented different patterns. The major risk to P. secreta maintenance is its rarity, suggesting the necessity of a preservation programme and more biological and evolutionary studies that handle the two evolutionary lineages independently.
Conservation; genetic diversity; microendemic; microsatellites; plant evolution; plastid sequences
Premise of the study:
Calibrachoa heterophylla (Solanaceae) is a petunia species restricted to the South Atlantic Coastal Plain of South America and presents a recent history of colonization from continental to coastal environments and diversification following the formation of the Coastal Plain during the Quaternary period.
Methods and Results:
This study reports a suite of 16 microsatellite loci for C. heterophylla. The applicability of these markers was assessed by genotyping 57 individuals from two natural populations. Of the 16 described loci, 12 were found to be polymorphic. Successful cross-amplification tests were obtained using 12 Calibrachoa species.
The development of microsatellite markers will be useful to recover the contemporary history of the colonization of the Coastal Plain and to provide information for the conservation of this endemic species.
Calibrachoa heterophylla; cross-amplification; population genetics; simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers; Solanaceae; wild petunia
Quaternary climatic changes led to variations in sea level and these variations played a significant role in the generation of marine terrace deposits in the South Atlantic Coastal Plain. The main consequence of the increase in sea level was local extinction or population displacement, such that coastal species would be found around the new coastline. Our main goal was to investigate the effects of sea level changes on the geographical structure and variability of genetic lineages from a Petunia species endemic to the South Atlantic Coastal Plain. We employed a phylogeographic approach based on plastid sequences obtained from individuals collected from the complete geographic distribution of Petunia integrifolia ssp. depauperata and its sister group. We used population genetics tests to evaluate the degree of genetic variation and structure among and within populations, and we used haplotype network analysis and Bayesian phylogenetic methods to estimate divergence times and population growth.
We observed three major genetic lineages whose geographical distribution may be related to different transgression/regression events that occurred in this region during the Pleistocene. The divergence time between the monophyletic group P. integrifolia ssp. depauperata and its sister group (P. integrifolia ssp. integrifolia) was compatible with geological estimates of the availability of the coastal plain. Similarly, the origin of each genetic lineage is congruent with geological estimates of habitat availability.
Diversification of P. integrifolia ssp. depauperata possibly occurred as a consequence of the marine transgression/regression cycles during the Pleistocene. In periods of high sea level, plants were most likely restricted to a refuge area corresponding to fossil dunes and granitic hills, from which they colonized the coast once the sea level came down. The modern pattern of lineage geographical distribution and population variation was established by a range expansion with serial founder effects conditioned on soil availability.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12862-015-0363-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Genetic diversity; Petunia; Phylogeography; Plant speciation; Pleistocene; Refuge; South Atlantic Coastal Plain
The glacial and interglacial cycles that characterized the Quaternary greatly affected the distribution and genetic diversity of plants. In the Neotropics, few phylogeographic studies have focused on coastal species outside of the Atlantic Rainforest. Climatic and sea level changes during the Quaternary played an important role in the evolutionary history of many organisms found in coastal regions. To contribute to a better understanding of plant evolution in this environment in Southern South America, we focused on Calibrachoa heterophylla (Solanaceae), an endemic and vulnerable wild petunia species from the South Atlantic Coastal Plain (SACP).
We assessed DNA sequences from two cpDNA intergenic spacers and analyzed them using a phylogeographic approach. The present phylogeographic study reveals the influence of complex geologic and climatic events on patterns of genetic diversification. The results indicate that C. heterophylla originated inland and subsequently colonized the SACP; the data show that the inland haplogroup is more ancient than the coastal one and that the inland was not affected by sea level changes in the Quaternary. The major diversification of C. heterophylla that occurred after 0.4 Myr was linked to sea level oscillations in the Quaternary, and any diversification that occurred before this time was obscured by marine transgressions that occurred before the coastal sand barrier’s formation. Results of the Bayesian skyline plot showed a recent population expansion detected in C. heterophylla seems to be related to an increase in temperature and humidity that occurred at the beginning of the Holocene.
The geographic clades have been formed when the coastal plain was deeply dissected by paleochannels and these correlate very well with the distributional limits of the clades. The four major sea transgressions formed a series of four sand barriers parallel to the coast that progressively increased the availability of coastal areas after the regressions and that may have promoted the geographic structuring of genetic diversity observed today. The recent population expansion for the entire species may be linked with the event of marine regression after the most recent sea transgression at ~5 kya.
South-Atlantic coastal plain; Phylogeography; Pleistocene; Quaternary; Genetic diversity; Climatic changes; Petunia
• Premise of the study: Microsatellite markers were developed for Verbenoxylum reitzii (Verbenaceae), a tree endemic to the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, to investigate their usefulness in population genetic studies. The loci were tested for cross-amplification in the related genera Recordia and Duranta.
• Methods and Results: Eleven polymorphic microsatellite markers were isolated from an enriched library of V. reitzii and characterized. The primers were tested on 60 individuals from three populations of this species. The number of alleles per locus ranged from two to 11, and the observed and expected heterozygosities varied from 0.0 to 1.0 and from 0.088 to 0.758, respectively. Ten loci successfully amplified in R. boliviana and all failed in D. vestita.
• Conclusions: Our results suggest the usefulness of the microsatellite loci developed here to access genetic variability for phylogeographic and population genetic studies in V. reitzii, which are important for the conservation of this rare species.
cross-amplification; microsatellite; Recordia; Verbenaceae; Verbenoxylum; Verbenoxylum reitzii
As part of a long-term investigation on the evolution of Passiflora L., we investigated the divergence ages of the genus and diversification of its subgenera, relating them with biogeographical and/or historical events, and other characteristics of this taxon. The main aim of the present work was to evaluate the biogeographic distribution of this genus to better understand its evolutionary history. This is the first time that representatives from South American and Old World Passifloraceae genera have been studied as a group comprising a total of 106 widely distributed species, with representative samples of the four suggested subgenera. Seven DNA regions were studied, comprising 7,431 nucleotides from plastidial, mitochondrial and nuclear genomes. Divergence time estimates were obtained by using a Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo method and a random local clock model for each partition. Three major subgenera have been shown to be monophyletic and here we are proposing to include another subgenus in the Passiflora infrageneric classification. In general, divergence among the four subgenera in Passiflora is very ancient, ranging from ∼32 to ∼38 Mya, and Passifloraceae seems to follow a biogeographic scenario proposed for several plant groups, originating in Africa, crossing to Europe/Asia and arriving in the New World by way of land bridges. Our results indicated that Passiflora ancestors arrived in Central America and diversified quickly from there, with many long distance dispersion events.
biogeography; molecular phylogenetics analysis; passionflowers; plant evolution; taxonomic classification
After several years of research, there is now a consensus that America was populated from Asia through Beringia, probably at the end of the Pleistocene. But many details such as the timing, route(s), and origin of the first settlers remain uncertain. In the last decade genetic evidence has taken on a major role in elucidating the peopling of the Americas. To study the early peopling of South America, we sequenced the control region of mitochondrial DNA from 300 individuals belonging to indigenous populations of Chile and Argentina, and also obtained seven complete mitochondrial DNA sequences. We identified two novel mtDNA monophyletic clades, preliminarily designated B2l and C1b13, which together with the recently described D1g sub-haplogroup have locally high frequencies and are basically restricted to populations from the extreme south of South America. The estimated ages of D1g and B2l, about ∼15,000 years BP, together with their similar population dynamics and the high haplotype diversity shown by the networks, suggests that they probably appeared soon after the arrival of the first settlers and agrees with the dating of the earliest archaeological sites in South America (Monte Verde, Chile, 14,500 BP). One further sub-haplogroup, D4h3a5, appears to be restricted to Fuegian-Patagonian populations and reinforces our hypothesis of the continuity of the current Patagonian populations with the initial founders. Our results indicate that the extant native populations inhabiting South Chile and Argentina are a group which had a common origin, and suggest a population break between the extreme south of South America and the more northern part of the continent. Thus the early colonization process was not just an expansion from north to south, but also included movements across the Andes.
Passiflora contracta Vitta (Passifloraceae) is an endemic species of the Atlantic Rainforest, one of the most species-rich ecoregions in the world, although extremely endangered. We have developed an enriched microsatellite library in order to fine-scale studies of the genetic structure of P. contracta. Twelve pairs of microsatellite primers were designed, and seven loci were successfully amplified and characterized by genotyping two wild populations of P. contracta. All seven loci were polymorphic, with an average number of alleles found being 4.8 and 5 per population. The cross-species transferability was tested using sister species Passiflora ovalis Vell. Ex Roemer. The development of these markers will contribute to the studies of population genetics in P. contracta as well as future studies concerning diversity patterns in the Atlantic Rainforest, and may also help to establish strategies for the conservation of this species.
nuclear microsatellites; Passiflora contracta; conservation genetics
It has been suggested that the higher susceptibility of Hispanics to metabolic disease is related to their Native American heritage. A frequent cholesterol transporter ABCA1 (ATP-binding cassette transporter A1) gene variant (R230C, rs9282541) apparently exclusive to Native American individuals was associated with low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels, obesity and type 2 diabetes in Mexican Mestizos. We performed a more extensive analysis of this variant in 4405 Native Americans and 863 individuals from other ethnic groups to investigate genetic evidence of positive selection, to assess its functional effect in vitro and to explore associations with HDL-C levels and other metabolic traits. The C230 allele was found in 29 of 36 Native American groups, but not in European, Asian or African individuals. C230 was observed on a single haplotype, and C230-bearing chromosomes showed longer relative haplotype extension compared with other haplotypes in the Americas. Additionally, single-nucleotide polymorphism data from the Human Genome Diversity Panel Native American populations were enriched in significant integrated haplotype score values in the region upstream of the ABCA1 gene. Cells expressing the C230 allele showed a 27% cholesterol efflux reduction (P< 0.001), confirming this variant has a functional effect in vitro. Moreover, the C230 allele was associated with lower HDL-C levels (P = 1.77 × 10−11) and with higher body mass index (P = 0.0001) in the combined analysis of Native American populations. This is the first report of a common functional variant exclusive to Native American and descent populations, which is a major determinant of HDL-C levels and may have contributed to the adaptive evolution of Native American populations.
One of the long-standing paradoxes in genomic evolution is the observation that much of the genome is composed of repetitive DNA which has been typically regarded as superfluous to the function of the genome in generating phenotypes. In this work, we used comparative phylogenetic approaches to investigate if the variations in genome sizes (GS) should be considered as adaptive or neutral processes by the comparison between GS and flower diameters (FD) of 50 Passiflora species, more specifically, within its two most species-rich subgenera, Passiflora and Decaloba. For this, we have constructed a phylogenetic tree of these species, estimated GS and FD of them, inferred the tempo and mode of evolution of these traits and their correlations, using both current and phylogenetically independent contrasted values. We found significant correlations among the traits, when considering the complete set of data or only the subgenus Passiflora, whereas no correlations were observed within Decaloba. Herein, we present convincing evidence of adaptive evolution of GS, as well as clues that this pattern is limited by a minimum genome size, which could reduce both the possibilities of changes in GS and the possibility of phenotypic responses to environment changes.
The discovery and characterization of informative intraspecific genetic markers is fundamental for evolutionary and conservation genetics studies. Here, we used nuclear ribosomal ITS sequences to access intraspecific genetic diversity in 23 species of the genus Passiflora L. Some degree of variation was detected in 21 of these. The Passiflora and Decaloba (DC.) Rchb. subgenera showed significant differences in the sizes of the two ITS regions and in GC content, which can be related to reproductive characteristics of species in these subgenera. Furthermore, clear geographical patterns in the spatial distribution of sequence types were identified in six species. The results indicate that ITS may be a useful tool for the evaluation of intraspecific genetic variation in Passiflora.
genetic diversity; intraspecific variability; ITS; Passiflora; phylogeography
Although humpback whales are among the best-studied of the large whales, population boundaries in the Southern Hemisphere (SH) have remained largely untested. We assess population structure of SH humpback whales using 1,527 samples collected from whales at fourteen sampling sites within the Southwestern and Southeastern Atlantic, the Southwestern Indian Ocean, and Northern Indian Ocean (Breeding Stocks A, B, C and X, respectively). Evaluation of mtDNA population structure and migration rates was carried out under different statistical frameworks. Using all genetic evidence, the results suggest significant degrees of population structure between all ocean basins, with the Southwestern and Northern Indian Ocean most differentiated from each other. Effective migration rates were highest between the Southeastern Atlantic and the Southwestern Indian Ocean, followed by rates within the Southeastern Atlantic, and the lowest between the Southwestern and Northern Indian Ocean. At finer scales, very low gene flow was detected between the two neighbouring sub-regions in the Southeastern Atlantic, compared to high gene flow for whales within the Southwestern Indian Ocean. Our genetic results support the current management designations proposed by the International Whaling Commission of Breeding Stocks A, B, C, and X as four strongly structured populations. The population structure patterns found in this study are likely to have been influenced by a combination of long-term maternally directed fidelity of migratory destinations, along with other ecological and oceanographic features in the region.
The Americas were the last continents to be populated by humans, and their colonization represents a very interesting chapter in our species' evolution in which important issues are still contentious or largely unknown. One difficult topic concerns the details of the early peopling of Beringia, such as for how long it was colonized before people moved into the Americas and the demography of this occupation. A recent work using mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) data presented evidence for a so called “three-stage model” consisting of a very early expansion into Beringia followed by ∼20,000 years of population stability before the final entry into the Americas. However, these results are in disagreement with other recent studies using similar data and methods. Here, we reanalyze their data to check the robustness of this model and test the ability of Native American mtDNA to discriminate details of the early colonization of Beringia. We apply the Bayesian Skyline Plot approach to recover the past demographic dynamic underpinning these events using different mtDNA data sets. Our results refute the specific details of the “three-stage model”, since the early stage of expansion into Beringia followed by a long period of stasis could not be reproduced in any mtDNA data set cleaned from non-Native American haplotypes. Nevertheless, they are consistent with a moderate population bottleneck in Beringia associated with the Last Glacial Maximum followed by a strong population growth around 18,000 years ago as suggested by other recent studies. We suggest that this bottleneck erased the signals of ancient demographic history from recent Native American mtDNA pool, and conclude that the proposed early expansion and occupation of Beringia is an artifact caused by the misincorporation of non-Native American haplotypes.
• Background and Aims Passiflora actinia and P. elegans, two markedly parapatric species, have their southern and northern distribution limits, respectively, in the most southern part of the Brazilian Atlantic Rain Forest. Despite the fact that they are classified in different taxonomic series, previous phylogenetic studies of this genus revealed a high genetic similarity between them. The aim of the present work was to analyse in more detail their geographical range in this region of overlap, to investigate intraspecific genetic variability and phylogeographic structure, and to search for possible hybrids.
• Methods Eighty-two localities were searched for these species, and nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences were investigated for 32 individuals of P. actinia, 20 of P. elegans and one putative interspecific hybrid. Plastid trnL-trnF and psbA-trnH were examined for 12 plants of each species and the putative hybrid.
• Key Results Both species showed a high level of intraspecific and intra-individual ITS variability. Network analysis revealed a north–south geographic gradient in their intra and interspecific relationships. Mismatch analyses suggested a recent population expansion of P. elegans. The plastid markers showed restricted variability but, together with the nuclear data, they contributed to the identification of an interspecific hybrid of intermediate morphology at the border of the distribution of these two species. Both genetic and morphological data indicate the absence of an extensive hybridization zone between these species.
• Conclusions Gene flow between lineages is the possible cause for the presence of different ITS sequences within a given plant, the absence of homogenization being due to the high degree of vegetative reproduction in the two species. Differentiation of P. actinia into geographic groups and the origin of P. elegans may have been influenced by the Atlantic Forest migration towards southern Brazil. The genetic pattern of the interspecific hybrid indicates that plastid inheritance in these species is at least sometimes paternal.
Passiflora actinia; Passiflora elegans; Passifloraceae; ITS; trnL-trnF; psbA-trnH; phylogeography; hybridization; quaternary climatic changes; Atlantic Forest; migration
This work reports the results of analyses of three complete mycoplasma genomes, a pathogenic (7448) and a nonpathogenic (J) strain of the swine pathogen Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae and a strain of the avian pathogen Mycoplasma synoviae; the genome sizes of the three strains were 920,079 bp, 897,405 bp, and 799,476 bp, respectively. These genomes were compared with other sequenced mycoplasma genomes reported in the literature to examine several aspects of mycoplasma evolution. Strain-specific regions, including integrative and conjugal elements, and genome rearrangements and alterations in adhesin sequences were observed in the M. hyopneumoniae strains, and all of these were potentially related to pathogenicity. Genomic comparisons revealed that reduction in genome size implied loss of redundant metabolic pathways, with maintenance of alternative routes in different species. Horizontal gene transfer was consistently observed between M. synoviae and Mycoplasma gallisepticum. Our analyses indicated a likely transfer event of hemagglutinin-coding DNA sequences from M. gallisepticum to M. synoviae.