nrDNA and cpDNA were sequenced of J. ashei and J. ovata from populations throughout their ranges. No J. ashei populations were found to be pure in their nrDNA for every tree, however all J. ashei trees in every population contained only the pure J. ashei chloroplast type. Populations of J. ovata in trans-Pecos Texas were almost pure in both nrDNA and cp DNA. Several plants in the J. ashei range contained J. ovata-type nrDNA (White Cliffs, AR, 3/10); Ranger, TX (1/5); Waco, TX (1/12). Every J ashei population contained at least 1 plant with hybrid (heterozygous) nrDNA and 3 J. ovata populations contained putative hybrids (by nrDNA), but one population had only pure J. ovata trees. The presence of ovata germplasm within J. ashei populations seems best explained by long distance bird dispersal of J. ovata seeds (thence seedlings and J. ovata trees and hybrids) in the disjunct J. ashei populations. The reason for the absence of ovata paternal cp, which is distributed by pollen in J. ashei populations is not known. Judged by distribution of cp data, there is very little movement of cp genomes. In contrast, nrDNA polymorphisms indicate there is considerable gene flow between J. ashei and J. ovata, but primarily in the direction of J. ovata to J. ashei which may be explained by a combination of bird migration pattern and recurring and preferential F1-hybrid formation.
Adams, R. P., S. T. Johnson and A. E. Schwarzbach. 2020. Long distance gene flow facilitated by bird-dispersed seeds in wind-pollinated species: A story of hybridization and introgression between Juniperus ashei and J. ovata told by nrDNA and cpDNA. Phytologia 102(2): 55-74