Zanthoxylum ailanthoides Siebold & Zucc. is one of the most frequently encountered pioneer trees in Japanese warm-temperate evergreen oak forests. Our previous study in one region of Japan suggested high levels of population differentiation and putative natural selection acting on one of the nuclear loci analyzed. Here, we extend our analysis to study the genetic structure of 10 populations of Z. ailanthoides across Japan using 9 simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci for a better understanding of its genetic structure. First, the southernmost population (Kagoshima) in the samples was found to have the highest genetic diversity, suggesting there was a glacial refugium at or near the location of the population. Second, relatively strong genetic differentiation was found among populations, and there was a positive correlation between genetic distances and geographic distances (Mantel test; P < 0. 001). Based on this information, we analyzed nucleotide variation at the putatively selected locus homologous to the gene encoding the ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase large subunit (agpL). Despite the strong genetic differentiation among populations suggested by the SSR loci, the agpL locus was monomorphic in almost all populations analyzed. The results of this study strongly supported the possibility of a selective sweep at or near the agpL locus.
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