In this review we summarized recent historical records and molecular studies on evolutionary history and phylogeography of Scots pine with focus on the European highly fragmented distribution area of the species. Fossilized pollen, plant micro- and macrofossil records provided evidences on the large-scale species’ range shifts and demographic changes during the Quaternary. Populations of Scots pine were documented both in the glacial (incl. full glaciation) and interglacial periods. Recolonization of Europe after the glaciation originated from the (Sub) Mediterranean areas like the Balkan Peninsula but also from around the Eastern Alps and the surroundings of the Danube plain. Fennoscandia and northern European Baltic regions were most probably colonized from two main directions, from Western Europe and from the Russian Plain. Modern history of Scots pine was hardly affected by anthropogenic activities that started to strengthen in the Bronze and Iron Age. Along with the fossil records, molecular genetic tools were used to infer the origin and putative history including migration, differentiation and demography of the species. In this paper we compiled the major publications (30) of molecular genetic studies of the past 20 years derived from distinctly inherited organelle genomes (mitochondrial, chloroplast, nuclear) revealed by different marker systems (mtDNA-cox1, -nad1, -nad3, -nad7, ISSR, cpSSR, nSSR, B-SAP, SNP). It is important to consider that different phylogeographic patterns can be drawn by the analysis of different DNA marker types. Accordingly the use of more than one marker simultaneously outlines the most sophisticated phylogeographical pattern on the genetic lineages and can reveal high differentiation of the European distribution. Combined marker systems and markers derived from coding sequences have also been used to detect species’ phylogeographic patterns, but these were rarely applied to Scots pine. Although new molecular techniques can provide higher resolution data for populations, the reviewed results can shape the direction of further studies.
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