This project was designed to identify seven trees in the WSU Landscape Arboretum which could not be adequately identified using a dichotomous key. These trees include an oak (Quercus sp.), three pears (Pyrus sp.), two birches (Betula sp.), and an apple tree (Malus sp.). This project will benefit the WSU Landscape Arboretum in their effort to educate the WSU’s community about local plant life, while also confirming whether those trees should be present in the Arboretum. Specifically, if the pear trees are identified as invasive Callery pears which harm the native flora, their removal will be recommended. Chloroplast DNA was extracted from the leaves following a modified Qiagen DNeasy protocol. PCR was conducted on the samples to amplify 900 bp of the maturaseK (matK) gene and 600 bp of the ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase (rcbL) gene, which are among the top contenders for universal barcoding in plants. Amplicons were sequenced, and they were assembled and aligned in Sequencher. Phylogenetic analyses were reconstructed in the Mesquite software package using oak, pear, birch, and apple matK and rcbL sequences from GenBank to assign a genetic identification to the seven trees. The WSU Landscape Arboretum were provided the genetic identifications and advised about how to proceed with the new information.
Runck, Amy M