Anther-stigma separation is associated with inbreeding depression in Datura stramonium, a predominantly self-fertilizing annual.
Genetically based variation in outcrossing rate generates lineages within populations that differ in their history of inbreeding. According to some models, mating-system modifiers in such populations will demonstrate both linkage and identity disequilibrium with fitness loci, resulting in lineage-specific inbreeding depression. Other models assert that differences among families in levels of inbreeding depression are mainly attributable to random accumulation of genetic load, unrelated to variation at mating-system loci. We measured female reproductive success of selfed and outcrossed progeny from naturally occurring lineages of Datura stramonium, a predominantly self-fertilizing annual weed that has heritable variation in stigma-anther separation, a trait that influences selfing rates. Progeny from inbred lineages (as identified by high degree of anther-stigma overlap) showed equal levels of seed production, regardless of cross type. Progeny from mixed lineages (as identified by relatively high separation between anthers and stigma) showed moderate levels of inbreeding depression. We found a significant correlation between anther-stigma separation and relative fitness of selfed and outcrossed progeny, suggesting that family-level inbreeding depression may be related to differences among lineages in inbreeding history in this population. Negative inbreeding depression in putatively inbred lineages may be due in part to additive effects or to epistatic interactions among loci.
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