Aquatic plant speciation affected by diversifying selection of organelle dna regions

Syou Kato, Kazuharu Misawa, Fumio Takahashi, Hidetoshi Sakayama, Satomi Sano, Keiko Kosuge, Fumie Kasai, Makoto M. Watanabe, Jiro Tanaka, Hisayoshi Nozaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Many of the genes that control photosynthesis are carried in the chloroplast. These genes differ among species. However, evidence has yet to be reported revealing the involvement of organelle genes in the initial stages of plant speciation. To elucidate the molecular basis of aquatic plant speciation, we focused on the unique plant species Chara braunii C. C. Gmel. that inhabits both shallow and deep freshwater habitats and exhibits habitat-based dimorphism of chloroplast DNA (cpDNA). Here, we examined the "shallow" and "deep" subpopulations of C. braunii using two nuclear DNA (nDNA) markers and cpDNA. Genetic differentiation between the two subpopulations was measured in both nDNA and cpDNA regions, although phylogenetic analyses suggested nuclear gene flow between subpopulations. Neutrality tests based on Tajima's D demonstrated diversifying selection acting on organelle DNA regions. Furthermore, both "shallow" and "deep" haplotypes of cpDNA detected in cultures originating from bottom soils of three deep environments suggested that migration of oospores (dormant zygotes) between the two habitats occurs irrespective of the complete habitat-based dimorphism of cpDNA from field-collected vegetative thalli. Therefore, the two subpopulations are highly selected by their different aquatic habitats and show prezygotic isolation, which represents an initial process of speciation affected by ecologically based divergent selection of organelle genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1008
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Phycology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Oct


  • Adaptation
  • Aquatic plant
  • Chara braunii
  • Diversifying selection
  • Organelle DNA
  • Speciation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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