Molecular evidence for spontaneous hybridization between Pinus sylvestris L. and R mugo Turra in the putative hybrid swarm populations of the species in Slovakia was provided based on PCR-RFLP analysis of the cpDNA trnV-trnH region. Species-specific restriction profiles generated by Hinf I digests of the cpDNA products reliably identified R sylvestris and R mugo haplotypes of the embryos from open pollination. Simultaneous analysis of the respective cpDNA region in megaga-metophytes and embryos of individual seeds along with needles of a given maternal tree has enabled to score either the R sylvestris or R mugo haplotypes in the embryos illustrating hybridization patterns between the two species. Data obtained in this way indicate a relatively extensive hybridization which takes place between R sylvestris and R mugo. The extent of hybridization varied among populations as evidenced by the 41.1-58.7% proportion of hybrid embryos registered on the locality Habovka, and by the 8.3% and 2.7% proportions of hybrid embryos on the localities Tisovnica and Sucha Hora, respectively. The approach itself is recommended as a convenient method for monitoring the hybridization patterns in sympatric zones of the studied pine species.
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