Natural hybridisation between kermes (Quercus coccifera L.) and holm oaks (Q. ilex L.) revealed by microsatellite markers

Authors

  • Joaquín Ortego,

    1.  Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC), Madrid, Spain
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  • Raúl Bonal

    1.  Grupo de Investigación de la Biodiversidad Genética y Cultural, Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos – IREC (CSIC, UCLM, JCCM), Ciudad Real, Spain
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  • Editor
    F. Roux

J. Ortego, Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC), C/José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, E-28006 Madrid, Spain.
E-mail: joaquin.ortego@mncn.csic.es

Abstract

Hybridisation between species of the genus Quercus is a common phenomenon as a result of weak reproductive isolation mechanisms between phylogenetically close species that frequently co-occur in mixed stands. In this study, we use microsatellite markers to analyse introgression between kermes (Quercus coccifera L.) and holm (Q. ilex L.) oak, two closely related taxa that frequently dominate the landscape in extensive areas in the Mediterranean region. All tested microsatellites amplified and were polymorphic in both kermes and holm oaks. Bayesian admixture analyses showed a good correspondence between each species and one of the two inferred genetic clusters. Five sampled individuals were a priori tentatively identified as hybrids on the basis of intermediate morphological characteristics, and it was confirmed that they also presented mixed genotypes. However, we also detected different levels of genetic introgression among morphologically pure individuals, suggesting that successful backcrossing and/or reduced phenotypic expression of genetic variance in certain individuals may have resulted in strong convergence towards a single species phenotype.

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