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Data from: Chloroplast population genetics reveals low levels of genetic variation and conformation to the central–marginal hypothesis in Taxus wallichiana var. mairei, an endangered conifer endemic to China

Citation

Liu, Li et al. (2020), Data from: Chloroplast population genetics reveals low levels of genetic variation and conformation to the central–marginal hypothesis in Taxus wallichiana var. mairei, an endangered conifer endemic to China, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.c8c79h7

Abstract

The central–marginal hypothesis predicts that geographically peripheral populations should exhibit reduced genetic diversity and increased genetic differentiation than central populations due to smaller effective population size and stronger geographical isolation. We evaluated these predictions in the endangered conifer Taxus wallichiana var. mairei. Eight plastid simple sequence repeats (cpSSRs) were used to investigate plastid genetic variation in 22 populations of Taxus wallichiana var. mairei, encompassing nearly its entire distribution range. Low levels of plastid genetic variation and differentiation were detected in the populations, and the findings were attributed to low mutation rates, small population sizes, habitat fragmentation and isolation, and effective pollen or seed dispersal. Hunan and Hubei were identified as major refugia based on the number of private haplotypes and species distribution modeling. Trends in plastid genetic diversity and genetic differentiation from central to peripheral populations supported the predictions of the central–marginal hypothesis. In scenarios wherein the future climate becomes warmer, we predict that some peripheral populations will disappear and southern and southeastern regions will become significantly less habitable. Factors that include the levels of precipitation during the driest month, annual precipitation level, and annual temperature range will be decisive in shaping the future distribution of these populations. This study provides a theoretical basis for the conservation of T. wallichiana var. mairei.

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