Chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) restriction analysis was used to classify five reforestation seedlots as to species. The material included two Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.), one white spruce (P. glauca (Moench) Voss) from interior British Columbia, and two putative hybrid seedlots from the coast-interior introgression zone in British Columbia. The cpDNA patterns generated by Bam-HI and Bc1-I from individual trees of Sitka spruce, white spruce, western white spruce (P. glauca var. albertiana (S. Brown)), and Engelmann spruce (P. engelmanni (Parry)) were species-specific. They were used as reference patterns for comparisons. In addition, two controlled crosses between white and Sitka spruce were analyzed to demonstrate the paternal inheritance of cpDNA in spruces. The cpDNA restriction patterns for the five seedlots were obtained from composite samples of seedlings from each lot and compared to the typical cpDNA patterns of each species. Restriction patterns for the two Sitka spruce seedlots agreed with those from the Sitka spruce tree, while patterns for the white spruce seedlots from British Columbia agreed with those from the white spruce tree, lacking evidence of any Engelmann spruce component in the sample. On the other hand, one putative hybrid seedlot showed cpDNA patterns similar to white spruce while the other showed fragments unique to both Sitka and white spruce, indicating that this was a hybrid seedlot. The analysis of cpDNA restriction polymorphism has proven to be an effective tool for classifying seedlots in regions of introgression. To our knowledge, these results provide the first demonstration of the use of cpDNA analysis for solving practical forestry problems.
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