Data from: Population structure and historical demography of Dipteronia dyeriana (Sapindaceae), an extremely narrow palaeoendemic plant from China: implications for conservation in a biodiversity hot spot
Chen, Chen et al. (2017), Data from: Population structure and historical demography of Dipteronia dyeriana (Sapindaceae), an extremely narrow palaeoendemic plant from China: implications for conservation in a biodiversity hot spot, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.t8q1g
Inferring past demography is a central question in evolutionary and conservation biology. It is, however, sometimes challenging to disentangle their roles of contemporary versus historical processes in shaping the current patterns of genetic variation in endangered species. In this study, we used both chloroplast microsatellite (cpSSR) loci and nuclear microsatellite (nSSR) loci to assess the levels of genetic differentiation, genetic effective population size, contemporary/historical levels of gene flow and demographic history for five populations sampled across the range of Dipteronia dyeriana, an endangered palaeoendemism from Southwestern China. We found that D. dyeriana had a mixed pattern of moderate genetic diversity and high inbreeding. Bayesian clustering divided D. dyeriana populations into two nSSR genetic clusters. Coalescent-based approximate Bayesian computation analyses suggest the western and eastern groups of D. dyeriana likely persisted in a long-term refuge in Southern China since the beginning of the last glacial period, whereas increasingly colder and arid climates at the onset of the last glacial maximum might have fostered the fragmentation of D. dyeriana within refugia. Following their divergence, the western group kept relatively stable effective population size, whereas the eastern group had experienced 500-fold population expansion during the Holocene. Although clear loss of genetic diversity by human activities was not suggested, recent habitat fragmentation has led to a reduction of population connectivity and increased genetic differentiation by ongoing genetic drift in isolated populations, possibly owing to decreased population size in recent dozen years. Finally, we discussed the implications of these results on conservation policies.