Microsatellites are difficult to recover from large plant genomes so cross-specific utilisation is an important source of markers. Fifty microsatellites were tested for cross-specific amplification and polymorphism to two New World hard pine species, slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. elliottii) and Caribbean pine (P. caribaea var. hondurensis). Twenty-nine (58%) markers amplified in both hard pine species, and 23 of these 29 were polymorphic. Soft pine (subgenus Strobus) microsatellite markers did amplify, but none were polymorphic. Pinus elliottii var. elliottii and P. caribaea var. hondurensis. showed mutational changes in the flanking regions and the repeat motif that were informative for Pinus spp. phylogenetic relationships. Most allele length variation could be attributed to variability in repeat unit number. There was no evidence for ascertainment bias
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