Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2019, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (5): 383-395.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2018.0252

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Advances in the study of population genetic diversity at plant species’ margins

ZHANG Xin-Xin,WANG Xi,HU Ying,ZHOU Wei,CHEN Xiao-Yang,HU Xin-Sheng()   

  1. Guangdong Key Laboratory for Innovative Development and Utilization of Forest Plant Germplasm, College of Forestry and Landscape Architecture, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
  • Received:2018-10-06 Accepted:2019-04-07 Online:2019-05-20 Published:2019-10-18
  • Contact: HU Xin-Sheng


Marginal populations are those at the geographical edge of a species’ distribution. Appropriate evaluation of genetic diversity in marginal populations is of crucial significance for understanding the impacts of climate changes on species expansion or contraction in the post Quaternary glaciations, conservation of genetic resources and exploitation, and peripatric speciation. Here, we discuss the evolutionary mechanisms for maintaining genetic diversity in marginal populations, analyze the role of plant mating system in shaping a plant species’ range and the genetic diversity in marginal populations, assess the difference or similarity in genetic diversity between central and marginal populations and the underlying ecological and evolutionary processes, and discuss the species genetic diversity correlation (SGDC) and the theory underlying such correlations. We proposed that future research includes the use of genome-wide sequences or transcriptome data to study the adaptive differential between leading- and rear-edge populations or between central and marginal populations and the molecular mechanisms of the interactions between the genetic diversity in marginal populations and the species diversity in the resident community of a focal species. This may help to understand the adaptability of marginal populations to local habitats and the ecological and evolutionary processes for SGDC at species’ edges.

Key words: marginal population, central population, genetic diversity, mating system, species diversity