University of Oulu

Hens, H., Jäkäläniemi, A., Tali, K. et al. Genetica (2017) 145: 209.

Genetic structure of a regionally endangered orchid, the dark red helleborine (Epipactis atrorubens) at the edge of its distribution

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Author: Hens, Hilde1,2; Jäkäläniemi, Anne3; Tali, Kadri4;
Organizations: 1Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 3000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
2Thule Institute, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 7300, 90014 Oulu, Finland
3Thule Institute, Oulanka Research Station, Liikasenvaarantie 134, 93999 Kuusamo, Finland
4Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Kreutzwaldi 5, 51014 Tartu, Estonia
5Komarov Botanical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Prof. Popov Str. 2, St. Petersburg 197376, Russia
6Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Science, Pushkinskaya St. 11, Petrozavodsk 185910, Russia
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2017
Publish Date: 2018-04-09


The genetic structure and diversity of species is determined by both current population dynamics and historical processes. Population genetic structure at the edge of the distribution is often expected to differ substantially from populations at the centre, as these edge populations are often small and fragmented. In addition, populations located in regions that have experienced repeated glaciations throughout the Pleistocene, may still carry imprints from the genetic consequences of frequent distribution shifts. Using chloroplast DNA sequences and nuclear microsatellite markers we studied the genetic structure of Epipactis atrorubens at the northern edge of its distribution. Contrary to populations in the centre of the distribution, populations at the northern range are regionally endangered as they are small and disjunct. Sequence data of 2 chloroplast loci and allelic data from 6 nuclear microsatellite markers were obtained from 297 samples from Finland, Estonia and Russia. We sought for genetic indicators of past population processes, such as post-glacial colonisation history of E. atrorubens. As expected, we observed low genetic variation, in terms of numbers of substitutions, haplotypes and alleles, and significant levels of differentiation, especially pronounced in the chloroplast DNA. These features suggest that the edge populations could be prone to extinction.

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Series: Genetica
ISSN: 0016-6707
ISSN-E: 1573-6857
ISSN-L: 0016-6707
Volume: 145
Issue: 2
Pages: 209 - 221
DOI: 10.1007/s10709-017-9959-9
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Copyright information: © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Genetica. The final authenticated version is available online at: