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Data from: In situ glacial survival maintains high genetic diversity of Mussaenda kwangtungensis on continental islands in subtropical China

Citation

Shi, Miaomiao et al. (2021), Data from: In situ glacial survival maintains high genetic diversity of Mussaenda kwangtungensis on continental islands in subtropical China, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.r4xgxd294

Abstract

Generally, island populations are predicted to have less genetic variation than their mainland relatives. However, there has been exceptions, indicating that the relationships were impacted by several factors, e.g historical processes. In the present study, we chose a group of subtropical islands located in South China as the study system, which are quite younger and much closer to the mainland than most of the previous studied island systems, to test the hypothesis that in situ glacial survival contributes to high levels of genetic diversity in island populations. We conducted a comparison of genetic variation between 12 island and 11 nearby mainland populations of Mussaenda kwangtungensis using eleven nuclear microsatellite and three chloroplast markers, evaluated effects of the island area and distance to mainland on genetic diversity of island populations, and simulated the potential distribution over the past by ecological niche modelling, together with the genetic data to detect the role of islands during the glacial periods. The island populations displayed comparable levels of genetic diversity and differentiation with mainland populations, overall high levels of unique polymorphisms, and the greatest values of specific within-population genetic diversity. No significant correlation was detected between genetic diversity of island populations and distance to mainland, as well as area of islands, except that allelic richness was significantly positively correlated with the area of islands. Nuclear microsatellites revealed two main clusters, largely corresponding to islands and inland populations, which divergence dated to a time of island formation by ABC analysis. Ecological Niche Modelling predicted a highly climatic suitability on islands during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Our results suggest that the islands have acted as refugia during the LGM and highlight the role of in situ glacial survival in maintaining high levels of genetic diversity of M. kwangtungensis in continental islands of subtropical China.