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Glacial refugia and reticulate evolution: the case of the Tasmanian eucalypts


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McKinnon, GE and Jordan, GJ and Vaillancourt, RE and Steane, DA and Potts, BM (2004) Glacial refugia and reticulate evolution: the case of the Tasmanian eucalypts. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Series B Biological Sciences, 359 (1442). pp. 275-284.

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Tasmania is a natural laboratory for investigating the evolutionary processes of the Quaternary. It is a large island lying 40-44 degrees S, which was repeatedly glaciated and linked to southeastern continental Australia during the Quaternary. Climate change promoted both the isolation of species in glacial refugia, and an exchange between Tasmanian and mainland floras. Eucalyptus is a complex and diverse genus, which has increased in abundance in Australia over the past 100 kyr, probably in response to higher fire frequency. Morphological evidence suggests that gene flow may have occurred between many eucalypt species after changes in their distribution during the Quaternary. This paper summarizes recent genetic evidence for migration and introgressive hybridization in Tasmanian Eucalyptus. Maternally inherited chloroplast DNA reveals a long-term persistence of eucalypts in southeastern Tasmanian refugia, coupled with introgressive hybridization involving many species. Detailed analysis of the widespread species Eucalyptus globulus suggests that migration from mainland Australia was followed by introgression involving a rare Tasmanian endemic. The data support the hypothesis that changes in distribution of interfertile species during the Quaternary have promoted reticulate evolution in Eucalyptus.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: glacial refugia; Eucalyptus; chloroplast; phylogeography; hybrid; Tasmania
Journal or Publication Title: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Series B Biological Sciences
Page Range: pp. 275-284
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2003.1391
Additional Information: BM Potts. The definitive version is available online at http://www.pubs.royalsoc.ac.uk/index.cfm?page=1085
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2007
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:21
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