This study addresses the evolutionary history of the chloroplast genomes of two closely related pine species, Pinus hartwegii Lindl. and P. montezumae Lamb (subsect. Ponderosae) using coalescent theory and some of the statistical tools that have been developed from it during the past two decades. Pinus hartwegii and P. montezumae are closely related species in the P. montezumae complex (subsect. Ponderosae) of Mexico and Central America. Pinus hartwegii is a high elevation species, whereas P. montezumae occurs at lower elevations. The two species occur on many of the same mountains throughout Mexico. A total of 350 individuals of P. hartwegii and P. montezumae were collected from Nevado de Colima (Jalisco), Cerro Potosí (Nuevo León), Iztaccihuatl/Popocatépetl (México), and Nevado de Toluca (México). The chloroplast genome of P. hartwegii and P. montezumae was mapped using eight restriction enzymes. Fifty-one different haplotypes were characterized; 38 of 160 restriction sites were polymorphic. Clades of most parsimoniously related chloroplast haplotypes are geographically localized and do not overlap in distribution, and the geographically localized clades of haplotypes include both P. hartwegii and P. montezumae. Some haplotypes in the clades occur in only one of the two species, whereas other haplotypes occur in both species. These data strongly suggest ancient and/or ongoing hybridization between P. hartwegii and P. montezumae and a shared chloroplast genome history within geographic regions of Mexico.
Corresponding Editor: R. DeSalle