The population genetics of sporophytic self-incompatibility in Senecio squalidus L. (Asteraceae): avoidance of mating constraints imposed by low S-allele number

A C Brennan, S A Harris, S J Hiscock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Senecio squalidus L. (Asteraceae) has been the subject of several ecological and population genetic studies due to its well-documented history of introduction, establishment and spread throughout Britain in the past 300 years. Our recent studies have focused on identifying and quantifying factors associated with the sporophytic self-incompatibility (SSI) system of S. squalidus that may have contributed to its success as a colonist. These findings are of general biological interest because they provide important insights into the short-term evolutionary dynamics of a plant mating system. The number of S-alleles in populations and their dominance interactions were investigated in eight wild British populations using cross-diallel studies. The numbers of S-alleles in British S. squalidus populations are typically low (average of 5.3 S-alleles) and the entire British population is estimated to possess no more than 7-11 S-alleles. Such low numbers of S-alleles are most probably a consequence of population bottlenecks associated with introduction and colonization. Potential evolutionary impacts on SSI caused by a paucity of S-alleles, such as restricted mate availability, are discussed, and we suggest that increased dominance interactions between S-alleles may be an important short-term means of increasing mate availability when S-allele numbers are low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1047-1050
Number of pages4
JournalPhilosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences
Volume358
Issue number1434
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2003

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