Quantitative genetics of size and phenology of life-history traits in Chamaecrista fasciculata

  • Kelly C
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Abstract. -Despite numerous adaptive scenarios concerning the evolution of plant life-history phenologies few studies have examined the heritable basis for and genetic correlations among these phenologies. Documentation of genetic variation for and covariation among reproductive phenologies is important because it is this variation/covariation that will determine the potential for response to evolutionary forces. To address this problem, I conducted a breeding experiment to determine narrow-sense heritabilities for and genetic correlations among the phenologies of lifehistory events and plant size in Chamaecrista fasciculata, a temperate summer annual plant species. Paternal families showed no evidence of heritable variation for two estimates of plant size, six measures of reproductive phenology or two fitness components. Similarly, paternal estimates of genetic correlations among these traits were low or zero. In contrast, maternal estimates of heritability suggested the influence of maternal parent on one estimate ofplant size and four phenological traits. Likewise, maternal effects influenced maternal estimates of genetic correlations. These maternal effects can arise from three sources: endosperm nuclear, cytoplasmic genetic and/or maternal phenotypic. The degree to which the phenology of one life-history trait acts as a constraint on the evolution of other phenological traits depends on the source of the maternal influence in this species.

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  • Carol A Kelly

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