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The history of introduction of the African baobab (Adansonia digitata, Malvaceae: Bombacoideae) in the Indian subcontinent
Royal Society open science
To investigate the pathways of introduction of the African baobab, Adansonia digitata, to the Indian subcontinent, we examined 10 microsatellite loci in individuals from Africa, India, the Mascarenes and Malaysia, and matched this with historical evidence of human interactions between source and destination regions. Genetic analysis showed broad congruence of African clusters with biogeographic regions except along the Zambezi (Mozambique) and Kilwa (Tanzania), where populations included a mixture of individuals assigned to at least two different clusters. Individuals from West Africa, the Mascarenes, southeast India and Malaysia shared a cluster. Baobabs from western and central India clustered separately from Africa. Genetic diversity was lower in populations from the Indian subcontinent than in African populations, but the former contained private alleles. Phylogenetic analysis showed Indian populations were closest to those from the Mombasa-Dar es Salaam coast. The genetic results provide evidence of multiple introductions of African baobabs to the Indian subcontinent over a longer time period than previously assumed. Individuals belonging to different genetic clusters in Zambezi and Kilwa may reflect the history of trafficking captives from inland areas to supply the slave trade between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. Baobabs in the Mascarenes, southeast India and Malaysia indicate introduction from West Africa through eighteenth and nineteenth century European colonial networks.
Adansonia digitata, genetic diversity, Indian subcontinent, population structure, introduction pathways, population genetics, Adansonia digitata, Indian subcontinent, genetic diversity, introduction pathways, population genetics, population structure
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