Phylogeography of Eurasian Larix species inferred from nucleotide variation in two nuclear genes


Larch (Larix Mill.) is one of the most widely distributed tree genera in Eurasia. To determine population structure and to verify classification of five species and three varieties of the Eurasian Larix species, we investigated levels and patterns of nucleotide variation of two nuclear gene regions: the 4-coumarate coenzyme A ligase (4CL) and the coumarate 3-hydroxylase (C3H). In the 4CL region nucleotide diversity at silent sites (?sil) varied between 0.0020 in L. Gmelinii to 0.0116 in L. gmelinii var. japonica and in the C3H region between 0.0019 in L. kaempferi to 0.0066 in L. gmelinii var. japonica. In both gene regions statistically significant population differentiation (FST) was detected among adjacent refugial populations of some species suggesting limited gene flow and/or long time isolation of some refugial populations. On the other hand, populations of L. sukaczewii from northwestern Russia, which was glaciated 20,000 years ago showed no differentiation. This result is consistent with recent postglacial origin of these populations. Haplotype composition of some of the investigated Eurasian Larix species suggested that they are considerably diverged. Some haplotypes were unique to individual species. Our results indicate that more intensive sampling especially from known refugial regions is necessary for inferring correct classifica-tion of Eurasian Larix species and inferring their postglacial migration.