Taxonomy

Species status of hybridizing oaks

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Abstract

The two widespread species of oak tree in Europe, Quercus robur L. and Q. petraea (Matt.) Liebl., hybridize extensively, calling their taxonomic status into question. Here we use microsatellite DNA, a highly informative genetic marker, to show that Q. robur and Q. petraea are discrete taxonomic units despite this intensive hybridization. Furthermore, individual oaks can be assigned to separate species.

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Figure 1: Dendrogram of 10 European Quercus robur and Q. petraea populations (162 individuals) based on the proportion of shared alleles at 20 microsatellite loci.

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Correspondence to Christian Schltterer.

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Muir, G., Fleming, C. & Schltterer, C. Species status of hybridizing oaks. Nature 405, 1016 (2000) doi:10.1038/35016640

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