Extensive sharing of chloroplast haplotypes among European birches indicates hybridization among Betula pendula, B. pubescens and B. nana

A. E. Palme, Q. Su, S. Palsson, M. Lascoux*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Extensive sharing of chloroplast haplotypes among the silver birch, Betula pendula Roth., the downy birch, B. pubescens Ehrh., and the dwarf birch, B. nana L., was discovered using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymporphism markers. The geographical component of the genetic variation was stronger than the species component: the species were not significantly different while 11% of the variation could be attributed to differentiation between the two main regions studied, Scandinavia and western Russia. All haplotypes occurring in more than 2% of the individuals were shared among the species and the introgression ratios were quite large: 0.79 between B. pubescens and B. pendula and 0.67 between B. pubescens and B. nana. The data also indicate that B. pendula individuals are more similar to sympatric B. pubescens than to B. pendula individuals from nearby forests. However, this trend is not as pronounced when B. pubescens is considered, suggesting that introgression is not symmetrical. The haplotype sharing among the three Betula species is most likely caused by hybridization and subsequent cytoplasmic introgression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-178
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Ecology
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004

Other keywords

  • Betula nana
  • Betula pendula
  • Betula pubescens
  • Chloroplast
  • Hybridization
  • Introgression

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