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Publicly Available Published by De Gruyter August 26, 2016

Development of a diagnostic DNA marker for the geographic origin of Shorea leprosula

  • Hani Sitti Nuroniah , Oliver Gailing EMAIL logo and Reiner Finkeldey EMAIL logo
From the journal Holzforschung


The development of sequence characterized amplified region (SCAR) markers derived from amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) is described for Shorea leprosula. An AFLP fragment that showed nearly complete differentiation between Borneo and Sumatra was gel-extracted, sequenced, and converted into a SCAR marker using the inverse polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. The single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that originally caused the AFLP was found in the MseI restriction site. Differentiation between islands was detected either as size variation of the codominant SCAR marker or after digestion of the PCR products with the restriction enzyme MseI (PCR-RFLP). Size variation was due to insertions/deletions found within the sequenced region that flanked the original AFLP fragment. After genotyping 151 samples of S. leprosula from 14 populations in Sumatra and Borneo, all but one sample from Sumatra were homozygous for one size variant (427 bp), while S. leprosula populations from Borneo showed different genotypes than Sumatra populations and variation not only among populations but also within populations. Complete differentiation and fixation on alternative variants was found for the geographic regions of Sumatra and Borneo by the PCR-RFLP method. The SCAR marker did not amplify in Shorea parvifolia and thus can also be used to distinguish between S. leprosula and S. parvifolia. The marker was successfully amplified from wood DNA extracts suggesting its applicability to track the geographic origin of timber.


Human-caused destruction of tropical rainforests has been increasing during the past half-century, and many primary forests have been degraded by illegal logging and shifting cultivation (Scotland and Ludwig 2002). This is also true for many regions in Southeast Asia (Hansen et al. 2013), one of the centers of global biodiversity (Myers et al. 2000). In Indonesia, illegal logging and conversion of forest land to oil plantations reached dramatical dimensions (Hansen et al. 2013). For example, in Sumatra, the original primary forest is converted up to ~70% to secondary forest (Margono et al. 2012).

Forest certification is designed as a response to the growing environmental awareness concerning sustainable forest management. Timber identification of tree species and their origins is essential for monitoring and control of illegal activities in timber production and thus enforcement of species trade regulations (Wingate and McFarlane 2005). One of the certification systems that verify the legality of timber is the chain of custody (CoC) (Dykstra et al. 2003). It plays an important role in investigating illegal logging or wood from controversial sources (Wingate and McFarlane 2005). Clearly, markers are needed that are phylogeographically informative to trace wood to their geographic origin, and that may be used as evidence in court.

Chemical fingerprinting methods such as isotope ratios are under development for this purpose (English et al. 2001; Kagawa et al. 2007; Boner et al. 2008). However, to obtain a clear spatial pattern of isotope ratios, a gradient of temperature or distance from the sea is necessary. The tissue samples should be taken from wood produced in the same season and year. This approach is limited for tropical timbers, particularly from archipelago sites like Indonesia, because of their lack of clear annual ring boundaries and the relatively small distance from the sea which minimizes geographical tendencies (Kagawa et al. 2007; Boner et al. 2008). Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) also has some potential as a tool for monitoring the trade of similar woods, but the NIRS calibration processes are far away from being a plausible routine (Pastore et al. 2011). Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) was applied in combination with principal component and cluster analysis to distinguish Fagus sylvatica trees grown at different sites (Rana et al. 2008).

Genetic variation patterns at the DNA level are not dependent on the environment but reflect historical and evolutionary processes (Finkeldey et al. 2010). Degen and Fladung (2008) pointed out early that DNA markers are suitable for tracing illegal logging.

DNA isolation protocols to extract DNA of sufficient quality and quantity from wood and wood products of different age and from processed wood were developed for dipterocarp species (Rachmayanti et al. 2006, 2009; Tsumura et al. 2011). DNA markers were found (among anonymous and dominant AFLP markers) that allow distinguishing species and samples from different geographic origins within one species (Cao et al. 2006, 2009). Michael et al. (2012) developed DNA-based methods to identify CITES-protected timber species within the Meliaceae family. Jiao et al. (2014) found that DNA barcoding is suited for identification of the endangered species Aquilaria sinensis Gilg, while Jiao et al. (2015) extracted and amplified DNA from aged and archaeological Populus euphratica Oliv. wood for species identification. Sandak et al. (2015) investigated six European populations of Picea abies (L.) H. Karst based on wood properties and four nuclear microsatellite markers.

From both an ecological and an economical perspective, Shorea leprosula Miq. is one of the most important tree species in Indonesia (Ashton 1982; Newman et al. 1996a,b). Shorea leprosula belongs to the Dipterocarpaceae, the main family in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia (Ashton 1982). Shorea is the largest genus of the family and S. leprosula is a dominant tree of dipterocarp forests (Newman et al. 1996a,b). It is abundant on deep soils at elevations below 700 m above sea level and distributed on Peninsular Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo (PROSEA 1994; Newman et al. 1996a,b). Like other tree species of the family Dipterocarpaceae, S. leprosula is a large tree up to 60 m and a popular commercial timber species in Indonesia. Its timber is classified as a light hardwood of the red meranti group (Newman et al. 1996a,b), which is the source of the world’s most demanded plywood (PROSEA 1994).

Several phylogeographical studies rely on maternally inherited chloroplast DNA markers because they show high differentiation among geographic regions (e.g. McCauley 1995; Petit et al. 2002, 2003). Unfortunately, S. leprosula from Sumatra and Borneo showed virtually no variation in chloroplast DNA (Indrioko 2005; Indrioko et al. 2006). However, genetic diversity analyses at amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) in seven S. leprosula populations from Borneo and Sumatra (Cao et al. 2006) revealed one AFLP marker that allows for a nearly complete differentiation between S. leprosula trees from Borneo and Sumatra (Figure 1, AFLP-172 bp fragment). Thus, it is a diagnostic marker suitable to verify the origin of the wood, if simple polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based markers can be developed from the fragment.

Figure 1: Reduction of AFLP fingerprint complexity by application of the MseI+4 primer M+GAAA.(a) M+GAA, (b) M+GAAA, (c) M+GAAT, (d) M+GAAC, (e) M+GAAG. Fragment AFLP-172 is shown by arrows.
Figure 1:

Reduction of AFLP fingerprint complexity by application of the MseI+4 primer M+GAAA.

(a) M+GAA, (b) M+GAAA, (c) M+GAAT, (d) M+GAAC, (e) M+GAAG. Fragment AFLP-172 is shown by arrows.

AFLPs are molecular markers obtained by selective PCR amplification of restriction fragments (Vos et al. 1995). This technique requires no specific a priori sequence knowledge. However, these markers are too expensive and too laborious for single locus screenings (Brugmans et al. 2003). Also, the reproducibility of AFLP markers is lower than for single locus markers and homoplasy of equal-sized fragments cannot be excluded. Finally, the application of AFLP markers for wood identification faces difficulties because of the need for good-quality genomic DNA (McLenachan et al. 2000), whereas quality and quantity of DNA from wood is generally low (De Filippis and Magel 1998; Dumolin-Lapègue et al. 1999; Deguilloux et al. 2002; Rachmayanti et al. 2006, 2009). Thus, AFLP markers need to be converted into locus-specific markers [sequence characterized amplified region (SCAR markers)]. This methodology involves characterization of the specific AFLP fragments and the design of locus-specific primers (Paran and Michelmore 1993). Isolation and sequencing of AFLP fragments allows for the development of locus-specific markers for the identification of S. leprosula and Shorea parvifolia Dyer (Nuroniah et al. 2010), two closely related species which are difficult to distinguish based on their wood anatomy (Bosman and Baas 1996). However, no locus-specific markers were available for the differentiation of geographic regions within Shorea species.

The main objectives of the present study are to convert the selected phylogeographically informative AFLP markers into SCAR markers and to apply the SCAR markers to identify the origin of timber from S. leprosula.

Materials and methods

Study sites and plant material:

Shorea leprosula samples were collected from 14 natural forests in Indonesia: five populations in Sumatra and nine populations in Borneo. As a reference, S. parvifolia populations were sampled from 10 natural forests in Indonesia: four populations in Sumatra and six populations in Borneo. Shorea parvifolia and S. leprosula have very similar wood anatomies (Bosman and Baas 1996), but can be distinguished at locus-specific DNA markers (Nuroniah et al. 2010).

Information on the geographic location is shown in Table 1. Plants were collected from natural stands in an area of 100–300 ha keeping a minimum distance of 30 m from each other. Most samples were collected as leaves of adult trees, saplings or seedlings. Species identification in the field was done on the basis of leaf morphological characters. The leaf samples were dried and preserved in silica gel for DNA isolation. Leaf samples from three sites in Borneo (KB, WkB, MtB) were collected from seeds and identified according to the mother trees.

Table 1:

Sampling locations of Shorea leprosula and Shorea parvifolia samples in Sumatra and Borneo.

RegionAbbreviationNumber of samplesLatitudeLongitude
S. leprosulaS. parvifolia
Asialog SumatraAS10122°0160″ S103°14′60″ E
Pasir Mayang SumatraPS9100°08′ S103°20′ E
TN Bukit 30 SumatraTS11101°05′–2°06′ S102°13′–103°14′ E
Nanjak Makmur SumatraNS1690°18′59″ S101°50′27″ E
Tebo Jambi SumatraTjS161°00′–1°45′ S102°00′–102°45′ E
Tering BorneoTB170°00′–0°10′ N115°22′–116°38′ E
Sari Bumi Kusuma BorneoSB2181°49′57″ S112°51′32″ E
ITCI BorneoIB2101°31′47″ S116°06′33″ E
Bukit Bangkirai BorneoBkB1690°14′–1°15′ S117°32′–118°35′ E
Sumalindo BorneoSmB881°12′13″ N115°11′22″ E
Berau BorneoBB982°30′ S132°30′ E
Ketapang BorneoKB111°00′–1°15′ S110°45′–111°00′ E
West Kutai BorneoWkB110°00′–0°45′ S115°30′–115°45′ E
Muara Teweh BorneoMtB60°00′–0°2′ S114°30′–115°10′ E
Batu AmparBaB90°45′–0°50′ N116°48′–117°00′ E

DNA extraction:

DNA was extracted from dried leaves using the DNeasy® 96 Plant Kit protocol of Qiagen (Hilden, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany).

Re-amplification and isolation of AFLP fragments:

AFLP analyses followed the protocol of Vos et al. (1995) with minor modifications (Cao et al. 2006). The original AFLP fingerprint including the AFLP fragment that highly differentiated between Sumatra and Borneo had been generated with the selective primer pair E35/M63 with the three selective nucleotides ACA and GAA, respectively (Cao et al. 2006). To increase the probability of successful excision of the desired fragments from the gel, an additional nucleotide (A, T, C, G) was added to the selective M primer (Brugmans et al. 2003; Gailing and Bachmann 2003). Two different selective amplifications were prepared: (1) using the MseI+4 primer and EcoRI primer labeled with the fluorescent dye Cy-5 for gel-extraction from a 7% polyacrylamide (PAA) gel and (2) using the MseI+4 primer and EcoRI primer labeled with the fluorescent dye 6-FAM for comparison with the original AFLP fingerprint after capillary electrophoresis. AFLP fragments were excised from 7% PAA gels following the protocol described in Nuroniah et al. (2010). Two microliters of the purified AFLP fragments were used for PCR.

A touch-down PCR with the selective primers was carried out (Gailing and Bachmann 2003), and the length of amplified products was analyzed by capillary electrophoresis on an ABI 3100 Genetic Analyzer (Applied Biosystems, Foster City, CA, USA) and compared with the original AFLP fingerprint. Fragments having the same length as the original AFLP fingerprint were considered as homologous fragments.

Cloning and sequencing of the AFLP fragments:

The gel-excised fragments were re-amplified and either directly sequenced or sequenced after cloning of PCR products (Nuroniah et al. 2010). Sequences were analyzed with the Staden Package version 16.0 (Staden 1999;, and sequence alignments were performed in BioEdit version 7.0.9 (Hall 1999) using ClustalW multiple alignment (Thompson et al. 1994). FASTA searches of sequences were done against the EMBL (Cochrane et al. 2008) and NCBI databases (Baker et al. 2000).

Inverse PCR:

Inverse PCR was performed according to Ochman et al. (1988) and Triglia et al. (1988) with slight modifications. Specifically, DNA genomic libraries were prepared by individually digesting 4 μl undiluted DNA with 0.4 μl [2–4 U (unit)] restriction enzymes DraI (5′-TTT↓AAA-3′), HindII (5′-GTY↓RAC-3′), MspI (5′-G↓CGG-3′), RsaI (5′-GT↓AC-3′), AvaII (5′-G↓GWCC-3′), EcoRV (5′-GAT↓ATC-3′), HinfI (5′-G↓ANTC), MluI (5′-A↓CGCGT-3′) and TaqI (5′-T↓CGA). All restriction reactions were then incubated at 37°C overnight, except for TaqI, where restriction was done at 65°C for 2 h. The self-ligations (ligation of the ends of the restricted DNA fragments into circular DNA fragments) were conducted in 50 μl reaction volumes containing 5 μl restricted DNA and 0.1 μl T4-ligase (4U μl−1). The solution was incubated at room temperature overnight. The ligated products were precipitated with addition of 2.5 μl NaAc (3 M) and 70 μl ethanol (absolute) followed by 25-min centrifugation at 14.000 rpm. The resulting pellet was washed with 80% ethanol, air dried at 37°C for 1 h and re-suspended in 10 μl H2O. The second restrictions were conducted with 1 U PstI (5′-CTGCA↓G-3′) added to 10 μl of each ligated DNA. The solution was incubated at 37°C overnight followed by incubation at 65°C for 20 min to inactivate the enzyme. Three microliters of this DNA were used as a template for inverse PCR.

Inverse PCR was carried out in 10 μl total volume containing 3 μl DNA, 5 μl HotStar Taq® master mix Kit [10 mM Tris-HCl (pH 9.0), 1.5 mM MgCl2, 50 mM KCl, 0.2 mM of each dNTPs, 0.5 U Taq DNA polymerase] (Qiagen, Hilden, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany) and 5 pmol of each inverse PCR primer. Inverse PCR primers were designed from the resulting AFLP sequence with the Primer 3 software (Rozen and Skaletsky 2000; available at The following cycling parameters were applied for the touch-down PCR procedure: an initial denaturation of 15 min at 95°C, 1 min at 94°C, 1 min at 58°C and 1 min at 72°C. The annealing temperature was then lowered by 1°C until 54°C during the first five cycles, and then 30 cycles were performed for 1 min at 94°C, 1 min at 58°C, 1 min at 72°C and finished by an extension step of 10 min at 72°C. Inverse PCR products were separated electrophoretically, and the strongest bands were excised and purified using Geneclean®kit (Q·BIOgene, Carlsbad, CA, USA). The fragments were cloned, and the recombinant plasmids were sequenced after colony PCR.

Primer design and primer optimization:

Primer design for SCAR markers with Primer 3 (Rozen and Skaletsky 2000) and marker screening on an ABI 3100 Genetic Analyzer was done as described in Nuroniah et al. (2010). In addition, restriction of the same amplified fragments (PCR-RFLP) was performed in a final volume of 7 μl with 2.5 μl of PCR reaction and 1 U of restriction enzyme MseI. Digestion products were resolved by electrophoresis in a 2.5% agarose gel.

Amplification of wood DNA using SCAR-172 primers:

Two samples of wood DNA of S. leprosula from Borneo were tested to illustrate the potential of the SCAR-172 marker for identifying the origin of timber. DNA isolated from leaves served as a PCR positive control. The wood DNA was isolated from three different areas based on transverse sections: outer sapwood (outer), the transition zone between sapwood and heartwood (middle) and heartwood (inner) (Rachmayanti et al. 2009).

Results and discussion

Isolation and sequencing of the AFLP-172 fragment

The selective amplification using the MseI primers elongated by one base reduced the number of fragments and prevented co-isolation of contaminating DNA fragments (see also Brugmans et al. 2003; Gailing and Bachmann 2003). Thus, this protocol facilitates the excision of the target band from the gel. A new AFLP fingerprinting pattern of much lower complexity with the highly differentiating fragment AFLP-172 present was generated based on the primer combination E-ACA/M-GAAA (Figure 1b). The combinations of E-ACA with M-GAAC, M-GAAG or M-GAAT did not generate the target AFLP fragment (Figure 1c–e). Target bands in the gel were identified by comparing the patterns of AFLP fingerprints on PAA gels and after capillary electrophoresis.

Two AFLP-172 fragments from two samples originating from different geographic regions in Borneo were sequenced (sample 1408_SB and 212_TB). The size of AFLP fragments in this study was 172 bp, including the EcoRI and MseI adapters, but the length of genomic DNA was 146 bp. A high homology between the two samples indicates the absence of co-migrating DNA fragments. Some studies reported that conversion of AFLP to SCAR markers was complicated by contamination of the target fragment with non-target fragments, which co-migrated with the target fragments in the AFLP gel (Meksem et al. 2001).

Amplification and sequencing of the two AFLP fragments from the two populations in Borneo revealed no sequence variation (Suppl. Figure 1). Because of the lack of internal polymorphism, it was necessary to consider a different approach, beginning with the generation of larger DNA sequences including flanking genomic regions.

Inverse PCR

Earlier studies suggested that AFLP fragments with lengths between 150–300 bp needed information about the flanking regions for conversion to SCAR markers (De Jong et al. 1997; Negi et al. 2000). In the present study, the inverse PCR approach was carried out to obtain DNA sequences adjacent to the AFLP marker. Inverse PCR was chosen because of its simplicity and the simultaneous use of the two specific internal primers (Ochman et al. 1988; Brigneti et al. 1997; De Jong et al. 1997; Bradeen and Simon 1998; Qu et al. 1998) instead of genome walking (Negi et al. 2000; Brugmans et al. 2003).

The primers for inverse PCR were designed in such a way that they would amplify the unknown sequence upstream and downstream of the known fragment. The position of the primers was intentionally not placed directly at the beginning and the end of the known sequence (Suppl. Figure 1), so that a part of the known sequence could be used as a control in case of erroneous amplification.

Genomic DNA from two different samples from Borneo (sample 1408 and 212) were digested with nine restriction enzymes. After ligation, the circular DNA served as a template for a touch-down PCR with the primers for inverse PCR (see Suppl. Figure 1). Several strong bands were obtained, and the band obtained from restriction with TaqI was sequenced. From the 146-bp AFLP fragment corresponding to AFLP-172, a fragment of about 430 bp length was obtained and applied for the inverse PCR technique (Figure 2). The sequence was compared to the GenBank database but did not match with any known sequence after a homology search against the NCBI ( or the EMBL ( databases.

Figure 2: Sequences of the AFLP-172 marker with its flanking sites.The original sequences of AFLP fragment are underlined. MseI restriction sites (TTAA) are in position 61–64 and 408–411, the EcoRI restriction site (GAATTC) is in position 261–266. Primers are shown by number 1–5. Primers 1 and 2 were used for inverse PCR. Primers 3–5 were tested for the development of SCAR markers.
Figure 2:

Sequences of the AFLP-172 marker with its flanking sites.

The original sequences of AFLP fragment are underlined. MseI restriction sites (TTAA) are in position 61–64 and 408–411, the EcoRI restriction site (GAATTC) is in position 261–266. Primers are shown by number 1–5. Primers 1 and 2 were used for inverse PCR. Primers 3–5 were tested for the development of SCAR markers.

Optimization and testing of SCAR-172 marker

Based on the flanking sequences, primers were designed for amplification of genomic DNA. The sequences of two samples from different geographic regions in Borneo obtained after inverse PCR had different lengths caused by an indel of three nucleotides. For primer development, it was desirable to identify sites that correlated with the presence and absence of the fragment in AFLP fingerprints to develop a SCAR marker that differentiates between Sumatra and Borneo.

Specifically designed primers that ended in diagnostic nucleotide positions have been used successfully to differentiate species of sturgeons (Birstein et al. 1998). The optimization of the SCAR-172 marker was performed based on two different approaches: (i) using a primer with the 3′ end identical to the selective nucleotide of the AFLP primers and optimizing the annealing temperature, (ii) using primers flanking the MseI restriction site and visualization of length differences of PCR products and by PCR-RFLP with the restriction enzyme MseI.

  1. The forward primer (Figure 2, primer 3) was designed at the beginning of the sequence because of the presence of an indel near the EcoRI restriction site (position 256–258). The reverse primer was designed (1) with its 3′ end identical to the four selective nucleotides of MseI primer (Figure 2: primer 4) and (2) adjacent to the MseI restriction site so that the amplification product included the MseI restriction site (Figure 2: primer 5). In the present study, a gradient PCR with different annealing temperatures ranging from 60.8°C to 70°C with the primer pair 3 and 4 was tested in order to generate amplification conditions that would allow the amplification of products for samples from Borneo but not from Sumatra. Annealing temperature was raised in successive experiments, but it was not possible to establish a specific annealing temperature.

  2. The approach was changed, and the reverse primer was designed to include the MseI site (Figure 2, primers 3 and 5). Consequently, the SCAR primers amplified both samples from Sumatra and Borneo.

Preliminary results showed that samples of S. leprosula from Sumatra had only one band with a fragment length of 427 bp. Samples from Borneo had more than one allele with fragment lengths of 418 bp and 421 bp. Both homozygotes and heterozygotes were observed in samples from Borneo. Thus, a dominant AFLP marker was converted into a co-dominant marker (Figure 3); this SCAR marker was designated as SCAR-172 and was tested in all populations from both Borneo and Sumatra (Table 1). The probability to convert a dominant marker to a co-dominant marker is not high because the AFLP method primarily generates dominant rather than co-dominant markers. One study based on the AFLP method for linkage analysis found that readily identifiable co-dominant markers ranged from 6% to 12.6% among all polymorphic AFLP markers (Waugh et al. 1997). Santos and Simon (2002) reported that only one out of eight (12.5%) SCAR markers developed from AFLP markers can be converted into a co-dominant marker, whereas Paran and Michelmore (1993), who introduced SCAR markers, developed three co-dominant markers from nine RAPD markers.

Figure 3: Capillary electrophoresis of the PCR products obtained after amplification using SCAR-172 markers.
Figure 3:

Capillary electrophoresis of the PCR products obtained after amplification using SCAR-172 markers.

Genotyping of the SCAR-172 marker

SCAR markers were used to screen 151 out of 163 samples (because of lack of amplification) from 14 populations. One out of 53 investigated trees from Sumatra was homozygous for a rare allele with a length of 426 bp, whereas the remaining 52 trees were homozygous for the allele with the fragment length of 427 bp. Alleles 418 bp and 421 bp were found as common alleles in samples from Borneo. Three out of 98 samples of Borneo had genotypes with the rare alleles, i.e fragments with a length of 409 bp, 426 bp and 427 bp, in combination with other common alleles as shown in Figure 4. An analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) showed that a highly significant proportion (66.7%) of the total genetic diversity is distributed among islands. More importantly, no genotype was shared between populations of both the islands allowing for an unambiguous assignment of samples to either Borneo or Sumatra. Only one sample from Borneo (BkB) was heterozygous for the 427 bp allele (418 bp/427 bp). Additionally, one heterozygous individual for allele 426 bp was found on Borneo (421 bp/426 bp) and one individual from Sumatra was homozygous for the 426 bp allele. While the marker was variable in Borneo, diagnostic markers for populations or regions were not found (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Genotype distribution of SCAR-172 in 14 populations from Sumatra and Borneo.
Figure 4:

Genotype distribution of SCAR-172 in 14 populations from Sumatra and Borneo.

Fragments from 16 samples (six samples from Sumatra and 10 samples from Borneo) were sequenced in order to find sequence differences among alleles. The variation was characterized by size variation due to insertions/deletions (Suppl. Figure 2). The single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), that originally caused the AFLP polymorphism, was found in the MseI restriction site where nucleotide A is replaced by nucleotide G (Suppl. Figure 2: position 412). All samples from Borneo had nucleotide A at position 412, including the rare allele 427 bp in Borneo. Another SNP was found at position 170 bp where samples from Borneo were characterized by nucleotide A (Suppl. Figure 2).

PCR-RFLP of SCAR-172 marker

Size differences after restriction of SCAR markers were visualized as a result of a polymorphism within the restriction site (De Jong et al. 1997; Brugmans et al. 2003). Differences in size of the restricted fragments were expected and observed after restriction because of the difference in the MseI restriction site (Suppl. Figure 2, position 412). The variation in size revealed after restriction completely differentiated samples from Sumatra from those of Borneo. Samples from Borneo (Suppl. Figure 3, pattern 1) have shorter fragments than samples from Sumatra (Suppl. Figure 3, pattern 0).

SCAR primers were used to screen 158 out of 163 samples (because of lack of amplification) from 14 populations. A complete differentiation between Sumatra and Borneo was revealed, including the sample of Borneo that was heterozygous for the 427 bp allele (426 bp/427 bp) which is predominant in Sumatra.

SCAR-172 as diagnostic marker for species S. leprosula

The AFLP fragment 172 bp is present in all S. leprosula samples from Borneo and showed a very strong but not complete differentiation between Borneo and Sumatra (Cao et al. 2006). It was also found in one sample of S. leprosula from Sumatra (586-AS, Asialog Sumatra) and in five samples of S. parvifolia as follows: 298-BB (Batu Ampar Borneo), 564-AS (Asialog Sumatra) 572-AS (Asialog Sumatra), 753-PS (Pasir Mayang Sumatra) and 1167-NS (Nanjak Makmur Sumatra) (Cao et al. 2006). Sample 586-AS has been tested with SCAR-172 (PCR-RFLP) and showed the characteristic pattern for S. leprosula from Sumatra. No amplification of SCAR-172 (primers 3 and 5) was found in the five samples of S. parvifolia and in the other 87 samples of S. parvifolia from ten populations (8–12 samples/population; four populations from Sumatra and six populations from Borneo). Thus, SCAR-172 is suitable as a specific marker to differentiate between the species S. leprosula and S. parvifolia.

The presence of fragment AFLP-172 in S. parvifolia was most likely caused by homoplasy, i.e. the occurrence of non-homologous fragments of the same size. Homoplasy in AFLP fingerprints has already been reported (Shan et al. 1999; Vekemans et al. 2002). A simple test to prove homoplasy was performed based on a set of primers with one extra nucleotide (O’Hanlon and Peakall 2000). Shorea leprosula from Borneo has nucleotide adenine (A) after the selective nucleotides (M+GAAA) (Suppl. Figure 4, A1). Four samples (S. leprosula 586-AS, S. parvifolia 298-BB, S. parvifolia 564-AS and S. parvifolia-1167-NS) also have nucleotide adenine (A) after the selective nucleotides (M+GAAA, Suppl. Figure 4, B1), but two samples (S. parvifolia-572-AS 572 and S. parvifolia-753-PS) have nucleotide cytocine (C) as the fourth nucleotide (M+GAAC, Suppl. Figure 4, C2). Different nucleotides following the three selective nucleotides prove that the fragments have different sequences. Generally, AFLP-172 fragments of S. leprosula from Borneo showed consistently high intensity (high peaks), whereas AFLP-172 of S. leprosula from Sumatra (S. leprosula 586-AS) and S. parvifolia samples showed weak intensities (Suppl. Figure 4, A and B). It might be assumed that different relative intensities (peak height relatively to other peaks) of AFLP fragments in the same size range are an indication of homoplasy.

Amplification of wood DNA using SCAR-172 primers

Only DNA from the outer area of wood discs (sapwood) could be amplified successfully (Suppl. Table 1), even though fragments of about 600 bp length can often be obtained using wood DNA of dipterocarps isolated from the outer and middle area (Rachmayanti et al. 2009). It has been reported that the best results were obtained from sapwood because quantity and quality of DNA extracted from sapwood are higher than from heartwood (Deguilloux et al. 2002, 2003). However, dipterocarp DNA can be contaminated by PCR-inhibitory substances in particular in the outer sapwood reducing the chance of successful amplification (Rachmayanti et al. 2009). The amplification of oak and dipterocarp wood DNA has been reported to be possible even for amplification products up to a size of 1500 bp, but the amplification success rate being negatively correlated to the size of products (Deguilloux et al. 2002; Rachmayanti et al. 2009).


A SCAR marker has been developed which completely differentiates between S. leprosula populations from Borneo and Sumatra. This marker was also successfully applied to amplify DNA of expected size from the outer sapwood of dried wood discs. However, it did not amplify DNA from the inner heartwood and from the transition zone between hardwood and sapwood, which are characterized by highly degraded DNA. Because the size of the amplicon is the main factor for the successful amplification, it might be necessary to redesign primers amplifying shorter but informative regions. To detect genetic differentiation patterns at higher geographic resolution, future projects should focus on the sequencing of chloroplast genomes in population samples that are representative for the species distribution range.


Samples were supplied by Dr. I.Z. Siregar, Dr. U.J. Siregar from Bogor Agricultural Institute, Indonesia and Dr. S. Indrioko, ITTO project PD 41/00 Rev 3 (F,M) from Gajahmada University, Indonesia. We thank Professor P. Karlovsky and Dr. A. Weiberg for their support in AFLP fragment isolation and O. Dolynska and C. Gottwald for their technical assistance in the laboratory.


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Supplemental Material:

The online version of this article (DOI: 10.1515/hf-2016-0086) offers supplementary material, available to authorized users.

Received: 2016-5-23
Accepted: 2016-7-29
Published Online: 2016-8-26
Published in Print: 2017-1-1

©2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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