High variability of chloroplast DNA in three Mediterranean evergreen oaks indicates complex evolutionary history.Heredity (Edinb). 2004 Nov; 93(5):510-5.H
Chloroplast DNA variation was studied in three evergreen Quercus species (Q. suber L., Q. ilex L. and Q. coccifera L.) from the Western Mediterranean Basin using PCR-RFLP. We studied five primer pair/enzyme combinations, four of them previously used in other European Quercus, obtaining a large number of haplotypes (81) grouped in three main types (suber type, ilex-coccifera I type and ilex-coccifera II type). Such level of haplotype diversity is higher than previously reported for the genus. Remarkable differences in haplotype richness between species have been found. Q. ilex and Q. coccifera usually share the same haplotypes, while a number of Q. suber populations possesses variants of the ilex-coccifera I type. This fact is interpreted as a result of genetic introgression between Q. suber and Q. ilex. Reproductive factors that could determine this exchange are discussed, as well as the influence of different species histories on the present structure of evergreen Quercus in the Western Mediterranean Basin.