Genetic Differentiation Between and Among Refugia

Gabriel Nève and Régine Verlaque


1. Since the Last Glacial Maximum, the distribution of terrestrial plant and animal taxa in Europe has shifted from their refugia, Northwards in latitude and upwards in altitude.

2. The populations from refugia, mainly the mountain massifs of S Europe (Pyrenees and Alps, and also the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains), harbor a higher genetic diversity than the populations of N Europe.

3. The isolation by distance effect between populations tends to decrease with the increasing distance from the glacial refugia.

4. In areas of admixture from colonization originating in different refugia the heterozygosity may be higher than near the refugia.

5. Numerous thermophilous species have survived in their Mediterranean refugia at low altitude (particularly in islands).

6. Diploid populations or taxa often remained restricted at mid and high altitudes in S Europe, while their polyploid relatives spread in the lowlands.

7. For cold-adapted species, the refugia are mainly located in the S European mountains, and sometimes in N Eurasia, such as in And0ya island or in Taymyr peninsula.

8. The relict populations retaining a high allelic diversity and the endemic diploid taxa are now key elements in the long term conservation.

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