THE QUANTITATIVE GENETICS OF SEXUAL DIMORPHISM IN SILENE-LATIFOLIA (CARYOPHYLLACEAE) .1. GENETIC-VARIATION

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Abstract

It is widely recognized that there are basic conflicts between the resource needs of a plant for paternal versus maternal functions. In dioecious species, these divergent demands, and the selection pressures they impose, can lead to the evolution of sexual dimorphism. The present study was conducted to assess the potential for the evolution of sexual dimorphism in Silene latifolia by evaluating the genetic variation and genetic correlation between characters and between the sexes for a range of growth and reproductive characters. Sexual dimorphism is largely restricted to reproductive characters, particularly flower number and flower size. A canonical correlation analysis revealed considerable intercorrelation between growth characters, such as germination date, height, and leaf size, and reproductive characters; plants that grow fast early on also flower earlier, and plants that produce big leaves also produce big flowers. There was genetic variation for several sexually dimorphic characters; much of the focus in this analysis was on flower size, particularly calyx diameter. Finally, genetic correlations within and between the sexes were found that limit the rate of evolutionary divergence between the sexes. The genetic results suggest that S. latifolia has been subject to divergent selection on the two sexes for a long period of time, bringing about a gradual fixation of sex-limited gene effects, so that the remaining genetic effects are expressed in both sexes. Genetic correlations between the sexes that arise from this residual variation impose limits on further evolutionary change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-457
Number of pages13
JournalEvolution
Volume46
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1992

Keywords

  • PLANTS
  • QUANTITATIVE GENETICS
  • SEXUAL DIMORPHISM
  • SILENE-ALBA
  • SILENE-LATIFOLIA
  • LIFE-HISTORY
  • FITNESS COMPONENTS
  • VEGETATIVE GROWTH
  • PLANT-POPULATIONS
  • FEMALE PLANTS
  • SEED-WEIGHT
  • WILD RADISH
  • ALLOCATION
  • CHARACTERS
  • EVOLUTION

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