• Fagaceae;
  • genetic marker;
  • microsatellites;
  • Quercus;
  • simple sequence repeats

Microsatellite (simple sequence repeat, SSR) amplification was performed in eight different members of the Fagaceae family by using sets of primers developed from sessile oak, Quercus petraea. In total, 136 cases of heterologous amplification were carried out, and 66% resulted in interpretable amplification products. From these, 12 PCR amplification products were sequenced and all 12 contained a sequence homologous to the original locus from Q. petraea. Although SSR primers worked even across different genera, with increasing evolutionary distance there was a clear tendency for decreasing ability to successfully amplify loci and a decreasing proportion of polymorphism amongst those markers which could be amplified. Two of the loci, ssrQpZAG46 and ssrQpZAG110, were polymorphic in all Quercus species tested. Only at one locus, ssrQpZAG58, a specific PCR product could be amplified in all species analysed. For four loci found in two species, we observed significant interspecies differences in the size range of the amplified alleles. Sequence analysis of two alleles showed that the size differences are not only due to variations in the number of (GA) repeats but also to an insertion of approximately 80 nucleotides in the flanking region. Our findings prove the usefulness of SSR markers within and amongst closely related genera of plants.