© 2018 Lyu, Song, Liu, Wang, Li and Du. Oaks are important timber trees with wide distributions in China, but few genetic studies have been conducted on a fine scale. In this study, we seek to investigate the genetic diversity and differentiation of three sympatric oak species (Quercus aliena Blume, Quercus dentata Thunb. ex Murray, and Quercus variabilis Blume) in their northern distribution in China using 17 bi-parentally inherited nSSRs markers and five maternally inherited chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) fragments. Both the cpDNA and the nSSRs show a high level of genetic differentiation between different oak sections. The chloroplast haplotypes are clustered into two lineages. Clear species boundaries are detected between Q. variabilis and either Q. aliena or Q. dentata. The sharing of chloroplast haplotype H1 between Q. aliena and Q. dentata suggests very recent speciation and incomplete lineage sorting or introgression of H1 fromone species to another. The nSSRs data indicate a complete fixation of variation within sites for all three oak species, and that extensive gene flow occurs within species whereas only limited gene flow is detected between Q. aliena and Q. dentata and nearly no gene flow can be detected between Q. aliena and Q. variabilis and between Q. dentata and Q. variabilis. Prezygotic isolation may have contributed to the species boundaries of these three sympatric oak species.
Lyu, J., Song, J., Liu, Y., Wang, Y., Li, J., & Du, F. K. (2018). Species Boundaries Between Three Sympatric Oak Species: Quercus aliena, Q. dentata, and Q. variabilis at the Northern Edge of Their Distribution in China. Frontiers in Plant Science, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.00414