Controlled pollinations were made between five hemlock (Tsuga) species from eastern North America and Asia, resulting in over 5700 germinating seedlings. A subset of putative hybrid seedlings from each cross was tested for authenticity by various DNA marker systems. The most reliable and useful system for verifying hybrids was amplified fragment-length polymorphism (AFLP) markers. Hybridizations between the eastern North American species, T. canadensis [L.] Carriere and T. caroliniana Engelm., and the Asian species, T. chinensis (Franch.) E. Pritz., were used as a model to test the inheritance, reliability, and ease of use of these markers. Using AFLP markers, we were able to verify 58 hybrids between T. caroliniana and T. chinensis, one hybrid between T. caroliniana and T. canadensis, but could find no definitive hybrids between T. canadensis and T. chinensis. Results using other marker systems, including RAPD, SCAR, ITS, and SSR, are also presented.
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