Forest trees exhibit a remarkable range of adaptations to their environment, but as a result of frequent and long-distance gene flow, populations are often only weakly differentiated. Lodgepole and jack pine hybridize in western Canada, which adds the opportunity for introgression through hybridization to contribute to population structure and (or) adaptive variation. Access to large sample size, high density SNP datasets for these species would improve our ability to resolve population structure, parameterize introgression, and separate the influence of demography from adaptation. To accomplish this, 454 transcriptome reads for lodgepole and jack pine were assembled using Newbler and MIRA, the assemblies mined for SNPs, and 1536 SNPs were selected for typing on lodgepole pine, jack pine, and their hybrids (N = 536). We identified population structure using both Bayesian clustering and discriminate analysis of principle components. Introgressed SNP loci were identified and their influence on observed population structure was assessed. We found that introgressed loci resulted in increased differentiation both within lodgepole and jack pine populations. These findings are timely given the recent mountain pine beetle population expansion in the hybrid zone, and will facilitate future studies of adaptive traits in these ecologically important species.

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Cullingham, C., Cooke, J.E.K. (Janice E.K.), & Coltman, D.W. (David W.). (2013). Effects of introgression on the genetic population structure of two ecologically and economically important conifer species: Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia) and jack pine (Pinus banksiana). Genome, 56(10), 577–585. doi:10.1139/gen-2013-0071