We investigated phylogeography of Larix sukaczewii and Larix sibirica using nucleotide variation at three following nuclear gene regions: 5.8 S rDNA including two internal transcribed spacers (ITS), cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD), and phytochrome-O (PHYO). We also included sequences of the 4-coumarate: coenzyme A ligase (4CL) gene region obtained in our recent study. CAD and PHYO showed very low nucleotide variation, but ITS and 4CL had levels of variation similar to those reported for other conifers. Pleistocene refugia have been hypothesized to exist in the Southern Urals and South Central Siberia, where four out of nine of the investigated populations occur. We found moderate to high levels of population differentiation (FST=0.115–0.531) in some pairwise comparisons suggesting limited gene flow and independent evolution of some refugial populations. In L. sukaczewii, low levels of differentiation were found among populations from areas glaciated during the Pleistocene, indicating their recent origin. Our results also suggest these populations were created by migrants from multiple, genetically distinct refugia. Furthermore, some haplotypes observed in populations from previously glaciated areas were not found in putative refugial populations, suggesting these populations might have contributed little to the extant populations created after the Last Glacial Maximum. Some authors regard L. sukaczewii and L. sibirica as a single species, while others consider them as separate species. The observed conspicuous differences in haplotype composition and distribution between L. sukaczewii and L. sibirica, together with high values of FST between populations of the two species, appear to support the latter classification.
2008. Vol. 4, 611-623 p.