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Variation of selfing rate and inbreeding depression among individuals and across generations within an admixed Cedrus population

By M Ferriol, C Pichot and F Lefèvre


We investigated the variation and short-term evolution of the selfing rate and inbreeding depression (ID) across three generations within a cedar forest that was established from admixture ca 1860. The mean selfing rate was 9.5%, ranging from 0 to 48% among 20 seed trees (estimated from paternally inherited chloroplast DNA). We computed the probability of selfing for each seed and we investigated ID by comparing selfed and outcrossed seeds within progenies, thus avoiding maternal effects. In all progenies, the germination rate was high (88–100%) and seedling mortality was low (0–12%). The germination dynamics differed significantly between selfed and outcrossed seeds within progenies in the founder gene pool but not in the following generations. This transient effect of selfing could be attributed to epistatic interactions in the original admixture. Regarding the seedling growth traits, the ID was low but significant: 8 and 6% for height and diameter growth, respectively. These rates did not vary among generations, suggesting minor gene effects. At this early stage, outcrossed seedlings outcompeted their selfed relatives, but not necessarily other selfed seedlings from other progenies. Thus, purging these slightly deleterious genes may only occur through within-family selection. Processes that maintain a high level of genetic diversity for fitness-related traits among progenies also reduce the efficiency of purging this part of the genetic load

Topics: Original Article
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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