Range Expansion through Pollen Dispersal: Hybrid Studies in California Red Oaks

Dodd, Richard S.
March 2007
International Oaks;Spring2007, Issue 18, p42
Academic Journal
The red oaks of California comprise four species that hybridize over relatively large geographic areas. Two of these, coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia Née) and interior live oak (Q. wislizeni AC. D.) hybridize readily in northern California at the limit of the geographic range of coast live oak. In oaks, the chloroplast genome is inherited maternally and therefore backcrossed individuals maintain a history of past hybrid events. We analyzed five microsatellites in over 500 individuals of coast live oak and in almost 300 individuals of interior live oak to determine geographic patterns of haplotype diversity and to detect shared haplotypes among species. In northern California, coast live oak and interior live oak shared a fixed haplotype that appeared to be of interior live oak origin. This suggests that coast live oak pollen dispersing northwards had hybridized with interior live oak and subsequent backcrossing produced coast live oak phenotypes with an interior live oak chloroplast genome. Bayesian estimates of gene flow indicated asymmetric gene flow between groups of populations in Marin County, California and Sonoma/Mendocino County, with gene flow northwards six times greater than in the other direction. A range of hybrid and later generation genotypes may provide genetic resources that will buffer the adverse effects of climate change.


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