Consequences of prairie fragmentation on the progeny sex ratio of a gynodioecious species, Lobelia spicata (Campanulaceae)

D L Byers, A Warsaw, Thomas Robert Meagher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Habitat fragmentation of prairie ecosystems has resulted in increased isolation and decreased size of plant populations. In large populations, frequency-dependent selection is expected to maintain genetic diversity of sex determining factors associated with gynodioecy, that is, nuclear restorer genes that reverse cytoplasmic male sterility (nucleocytoplasmic gynodioecy). However, genetic drift will have a greater influence on small isolated populations that result from habitat fragmentation. The genetic model for nucleocytoplasmic gynodioecy implies that the proportion of female progeny produced by hermaphroditic and female plants will show more extreme differences in populations with reduced allelic diversity, and that restoration of male function will increase with inbreeding. We investigated potential impacts of effects resulting from reduced population sizes by comparison of progeny sex ratios produced by female and hermaphroditic plants in small and large populations of the gynodioecious prairie species, Lobelia spicata. A four-way contingency analysis of the impact of population size, population sex ratio, and maternal gender on progeny sex ratios showed that progeny sex ratios of hermaphroditic plants were strongly influenced by population size, whereas progeny sex ratios of female plants were strongly influenced by population sex ratio. Further, analysis of variation in progeny-type distribution indicated decreased restoration and increased loss of male function in smaller and isolated populations. These results are consistent with reduced allelic diversity or low allelic frequency at restorer loci in small and isolated populations. The consequent decrease in male function has the potential to impede seed production in these fragmented prairies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-75
Number of pages7
JournalHeredity
Volume95
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005

Keywords

  • genetic drift
  • gynodioecy
  • habitat fragmentation
  • nucleocytoplasmic male sterility
  • prairies
  • sex ratio
  • CYTOPLASMIC MALE-STERILITY
  • SILENE-VULGARIS
  • GENETIC CONSEQUENCES
  • POPULATION-STRUCTURE
  • THYMUS-VULGARIS
  • PLANT
  • FITNESS
  • POLYMORPHISM
  • ASTERACEAE
  • FREQUENCY

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