Development and Characterization of Genomic and Gene-Based Microsatellite Markers in North American Red Oak Species

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Oaks (Quercus: Fagaceae) are ecological and economic keystones of many forested ecosystems but effective genetic management strategies are hindered by high levels of phenotypic plasticity within species and frequent hybridization among them. These same features, however, make oak communities suited for the study of speciation, hybridization, and genetic adaptation. Efforts to develop new and to adapt existing genomic resources to less-studied members of this genus should not only improve oak conservation and management but also aid the study of fundamental evolutionary processes. Here, we present a suite of 27 highly polymorphic simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers tested in four North American red oak (Quercus section Lobatae) species: Q. rubra, Q. ellipsoidalis, Q. coccinea, and Q. velutina. Five markers are genomic SSRs (gSSRs) - four novel and one previously transferred from Q. petraea - and 22 are gene-based SSRs derived from Q. robur and Q. petraea expressed sequence tags (EST-SSRs). Overall, levels of polymorphism detected with these primer pairs were high, with gene diversity (He) averaging 0. 66 across all loci in natural populations. In addition, we show that EST-SSR markers may have the potential to detect divergent selection at stress-resistance candidate genes among closely related oak species. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

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Plant Molecular Biology Reporter