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This is the first report of a study devoted to the population genetics of speciation in the endemic Hawaiian plant genus Schiedea (Caryophyllaceae). Here, we report the estimates of DNA sequence diversity and divergence in a newly isolated nuclear gene from Maui and Oahu Schiedea globosa populations. Overall, the species-wide average heterozygosity per silent site is pi = 0.3%. The silent DNA diversity on the older island of Oahu (pi = 0.24%) is almost twice as high as on the younger Maui (pi = 0.14%). Consistent with this, the haplotype phylogeny suggests a more recent origin of the Maui populations. There is no significant isolation between the two Maui populations (F(st)=0.027), while isolation between the two islands is high (F(st)=0.57, P<0.0001). Pairwise mismatch distributions suggest population growth approximately 660 and 310 thousand generations ago for the Oahu and the Maui populations, respectively, which may be the minimal age for these populations. This is consistent with a fairly neutral frequency spectrum (Tajima's D is 0.34 and -0.94 for the Oahu and the Maui populations, respectively), suggesting that both populations are sufficiently old to have recovered from any initial founder effects. Relatively high nuclear DNA diversity in the S. globosa populations illustrates the usefulness of a DNA sequence-based approach to the population genetics of island plant populations.

Original publication




Journal article


Heredity (Edinb)

Publication Date





452 - 458


Caryophyllaceae, DNA, Plant, Genetic Variation, Genetics, Population, Hawaii, Heterozygote, Phylogeny