Evolution of floral traits in a hermaphroditic plant: Field measurements of heritabilitles and genetic correlations

  • Campbell D
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Genetic variances, heritabilities, and genetic correlations of floral traits were measured in the monocarpic perennial Ipomopsis aggregata (Polemoniaceae). A paternal half-sib design was employed to generate seeds in each of four years, and seeds were planted back in the field near the parental site. The progeny were followed for up to eight years to estimate quantitative genetic parameters subject to natural levels of environmental variation over the entire life cycle. Narrow-sense heritabilities of 0.2-0.8 were detected for the morphometric traits of corolla length, corolla width, stigma position, and anther position. The proportion of time spent by the protandrous flowers in the pistillate phase (''proportion pistillate'') also exhibited detectable heritability of near 0.3. In contrast, heritability estimates for nectar reward traits were low and not significantly different from zero, due to high environmental variance between and within flowering years. The estimates of genetic parameters were combined with phenotypic selection gradients to predict evolutionary responses to selection mediated by the hummingbird pollinators. One trait, corolla width, showed the potential for a rapid response to ongoing selection through male function, as it experienced both direct selection, by influencing pollen export, and relatively high heritability. Predicted responses were lower for proportion pistillate and corolla length, even though these traits also experienced direct selection. Stigma position was expected to respond positively to indirect selection of proportion pistillate but negatively to selection of corolla length, with the net effect sensitive to variation in the selection estimates. Anther position also was not directly selected but could respond to indirect selection of genetically correlated traits.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Ipomopsis aggregata
  • Ipomopsis-aggregata polemoniaceae
  • alpine sky
  • delphinium-nelsonii
  • evolutionary response to selection
  • floral traits
  • genetic correlation
  • heritability
  • life-history traits
  • mimulus-guttatus
  • natural-selection
  • nectar production
  • pilot
  • pollen dispersal
  • pollinator-mediated selection
  • quantitative genetics
  • seed production

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  • D R Campbell

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