Ancient and modern introduction of Broussonetia papyrifera ([L.] Vent.; Moraceae) into the Pacific: genetic, geographical and historical evidence

Broussonetia papyrifera (L.) Vent. (Moraceae), or paper mulberry, is a species of cultural importance in South East Asia, East Asia and the Pacific. Originally from mainland South East Asia or East Asia, this plant was introduced into the Pacific range by prehistoric Austronesian voyagers. We used non-coding internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences of nuclear ribosomal DNA and inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) on 79 samples of B. papyrifera from different islands of Remote Oceania, and South East Asia and East Asia. Our results show an absence of genetic diversity in the introduced range of Remote Oceania, with the sole exception of Hawaii. By contrast, Asian samples show genetic diversity. The data obtained suggest a prehistoric human-mediated introduction of this species from East Asia to Remote Oceania and a second, possibly historic, human-mediated introduction to Hawaii.