Genetic consequences of glacial survival: the late Quaternary history of balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera L.) in North America

Amy Breen, David Murray, Matthew Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aim Beringia, the unglaciated region encompassing the former Bering land bridge, as well as the land between the Lena and Mackenzie rivers, is recognized as an important refugium for arctic plants during the last ice age. Compelling palaeobotanical evidence also supports the presence of small populations of boreal trees within Beringia during the Last Glacial Maximum. The occurrence of balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) in Beringia provides a unique opportunity to assess the implications of persistence in a refugium on present-day genetic diversity for this boreal tree species. Location North America. Methods We sequenced three variable non-coding regions of the chloroplast genome (cpDNA) from 40 widely distributed populations of balsam poplar across its North American range. We assessed patterns of genetic diversity, geographic structure and historical demography between glaciated and unglaciated regions of the balsam poplar's range. We also utilized a coalescent model to test f
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)918-928
StatePublished - May 2012


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