Research Article

Quaternary origin and genetic divergence of the endemic cactus Mammillaria pectinifera in a changing landscape in the Tehuacán Valley, Mexico

Abstract

The endemic Mexican cactus, Mammillaria pectinifera, shows low dispersal capabilities and isolated populations within the highly dissected landscape of Tehuacán Valley. These characteristics can restrict gene flow and act upon the genetic divergence and speciation in arid plants. We conducted a phylogeographic study to determine if the origin, current distribution, and genetic structure of M. pectinifera were driven by Quaternary geomorphic processes. Sequences of the plastids psbA-trnH and trnT-trnL obtained from 66 individuals from seven populations were used to estimate genetic diversity. Population differentiation was assessed by an analysis of molecular variance. We applied a stepwise phylogenetic calibration test to determine whether species origin and genetic divergence among haplotypes were temporally concordant with recognizable episodes of geomorphic evolution. The combination of plastid markers yielded six haplotypes, with high levels of haplotype diversity (h = 0.622) and low nucleotide diversity (π = 0.00085). The populations were found to be genetically structured (FST = 0.682; P M. pectinifera were a response to local Quaternary geomorphic evolution.

The endemic Mexican cactus, Mammillaria pectinifera, shows low dispersal capabilities and isolated populations within the highly dissected landscape of Tehuacán Valley. These characteristics can restrict gene flow and act upon the genetic divergence and speciation in arid plants. We conducted a phylogeographic study to determine if the origin, current distribution, and genetic structure of M. pectinifera were driven by Quaternary geomorphic processes. Sequences of the plastids psbA-trnH and trnT-trnL obtained from 66 individuals from seven populations were used to estimate genetic diversity. Population differentiation was assessed by an analysis of molecular variance. We applied a stepwise phylogenetic calibration test to determine whether species origin and genetic divergence among haplotypes were temporally concordant with recognizable episodes of geomorphic evolution. The combination of plastid markers yielded six haplotypes, with high levels of haplotype diversity (h = 0.622) and low nucleotide diversity (π = 0.00085). The populations were found to be genetically structured (FST = 0.682; P M. pectinifera were a response to local Quaternary geomorphic evolution.