The narrow endemic Norwegian peat moss Sphagnum troendelagicum originated before the last glacial maximum.
It is commonly found that individual hybrid, polyploid species originate recurrently and that many polyploid species originated relatively recently. It has been previously hypothesized that the extremely rare allopolyploid peat moss Sphagnum troendelagicum has originated multiple times, possibly after the last glacial maximum in Scandinavia. This conclusion was based on low linkage disequilibrium in anonymous genetic markers within natural populations, in which sexual reproduction has never been observed. Here we employ microsatellite markers and chloroplast DNA (cpDNA)-encoded trnG sequence data to test hypotheses concerning the origin and evolution of this species. We find that S. tenellum is the maternal progenitor and S. balticum is the paternal progenitor of S. troendelagicum. Using various Bayesian approaches, we estimate that S. troendelagicum originated before the Holocene but not before c. 80,000 years ago (median expected time since speciation 40 000 years before present). The observed lack of complete linkage disequilibrium in the genome of this species suggests cryptic sexual reproduction and recombination. Several lines of evidence suggest multiple origins for S. troendelagicum, but a single origin is supported by approximate Bayesian computation analyses. We hypothesize that S. troendelagicum originated in a peat-dominated refugium before last glacial maximum, and subsequently immigrated to central Norway by means of spore flow during the last thousands of years.
Stenøien, HK; Shaw, AJ; Stengrundet, K; Flatberg, KI
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