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Data from: Influence of a climatic gradient on genetic exchange between two oak species

Cite this dataset

Burge, Dylan Orion; Parker, V. Thomas; Mulligan, Margaret; Sork, Victoria L. (2019). Data from: Influence of a climatic gradient on genetic exchange between two oak species [Dataset]. Dryad.


Premise of the study. In plant groups with limited intrinsic barriers to gene flow, it is thought that environmental conditions can modulate interspecific genetic exchange. Oaks are known for limited barriers to gene flow among closely related species. Here, we use Quercus as a living laboratory in which to pursue a fundamental question in plant evolution: do environmental gradients restrict or promote genetic exchange between species? Methods. We focused on two North American oaks, the rare Q. dumosa and the widespread Q. berberidifolia. We sampled intensively along a contact zone in California. We sequenced restriction site associated DNA markers and measured vegetative phenotype. We tested for genetic exchange, the association with climate, and the effect on phenotype. Key results. There is evidence for genetic exchange between the species. Admixed plants are found in areas of intermediate climate, while less admixed plants are found at the extremes of the climatic gradient. Genetic and phenotypic patterns are out of phase in the zone of contact; some plants display the phenotype of one species but are genetically associated with another. Conclusions. Our results support the hypothesis that a strong climatic gradient can promote genetic exchange between species. The overall weak correlation between genotype and phenotype in the contact zone between the species suggests that genetic exchange can lead to the breakdown of trait combinations used to define species. This incongruency predicts ongoing problems for conservation of Q. dumosa, with implications for conservation of other oaks. Please be aware that if you ask to have your user record removed, we will retain your name in the records concerning manuscripts for which you were an author, reviewer, or editor. In compliance with data protection regulations, you may request that we remove your personal registration details at any time. (Use the following URL: Please contact the publication office if you have any questions.

Usage notes


National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1444611