Molecular Analysis of Hybrids among the Ornamental Eucalypts Eucalyptus macrocarpa, E. pyriformis, and E. youngiana

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Viticulture and Oenology, Adelaide University, Waite Campus, P.M.B. 1, Glen Osmond, S.A. 5064, Australia
  • | 2 Department of Environmental Biology, Adelaide University, S.A. 5005, Australia

The potential for hybridization among three species of Eucalyptus L'Hér in the Series Macrocarpae, E. macrocarpa Hook (Mottlecah), E. pyriformis Turcz. (pear-fruited mallee), and E. youngiana F. Muell. (large-fruited mallee), was investigated using molecular data generated by randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis. Samples of DNA from seedlings derived from controlled pollinations, and from different individuals from each species, were amplified with six different 10-mer primers. The presence or absence of RAPD fragments was used to generate a dendrogram based on genetic similarity, an ordination derived by multidimensional scaling (MDS), and a minimum spanning tree (MST) to show the relative links and dissimilarities between the individuals tested. Two clusters were identified on the unweighted pair-group method arithmetric average dendrogram. The first included all of the E. macrocarpa genotypes and all but one of the E. macrocarpa hybrids. The second included all of the E. youngiana and E. pyriformis genotypes and their hybrids. The MDS ordinations placed the hybrid seedlings between the parent species. From the 30 progeny investigated, 28 were assessed from the molecular data to be hybrids from controlled pollinations. The remaining two seedlings appeared to be derived from self-pollination. The parentage of two mature trees, thought to be natural hybrids involving the three species, was also investigated. One was confirmed as a cross between E. youngiana and E. pyriformis, but the second was less certain because of its low genetic similarity to all other individuals, and may be a hybrid involving species not included in this study.

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