Chinese aspen with a dynamic Quaternary evolutionary history

Populus adenopoda (Salicaceae), the Chinese aspen, occurs in the subtropical China region. Fen et al. report a genetic survey to reveal that it survived in multiple glacial refugia during the Last Glacial Maximum (ca. 21 to 18 thousand years ago).

Map of the presumed geographic distribution of P. adenopoda
Map of the presumed geographic distribution of P. adenopoda and the sampling locations of 39 populations addressed in this study (black circles).

Populations in its southern range contain high chloroplast DNA diversity but had little contribution to the post-glacial recolonization of its northern and eastern range. Demographic inferences suggest that P. adenopoda may have experienced multiple rounds of range contraction during the glacial periods and range expansion during interglacial periods. This emphasizes the importance to combine multiple lines of evidences when reconstructing Quaternary population evolutionary history.

Further reading

Strong population bottleneck and repeated demographic expansions of Populus adenopoda (Salicaceae) in subtropical China. (2018). Annals of Botany, 121(4), 665–679.