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Genetic determination of male sterility in gynodioecious Silene nutans

By C Garraud, B Brachi, M Dufay, P Touzet and J A Shykoff


Gynodioecy, the coexistence of female and hermaphrodite plants within a species, is often under nuclear–cytoplasmic sex determination, involving cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) genes and nuclear restorers. A good knowledge of CMS and restorer polymorphism is essential for understanding the evolution and maintenance of gynodioecy, but reciprocal crossing studies remain scarce. Although mitochondrial diversity has been studied in a few gynodioecious species, the relationship between mitotype diversity and CMS status is poorly known. From a French sample of Silene nutans, a gynodioecious species whose sex determination remains unknown, we chose the four most divergent mitotypes that we had sampled at the cytochrome b gene and tested by reciprocal crosses whether they carry distinct CMS genes. We show that gynodioecy in S. nutans is under nuclear–cytoplasmic control, with at least two different CMSs and up to four restorers with epistatic interactions. Female occurrence and frequency were highly dependent on the mitotype, suggesting that the level of restoration varies greatly among CMSs. Two of the mitotypes, which have broad geographic distributions, represent different CMSs and are very unequally restored. We discuss the dynamics of gynodioecy at the large-scale meta-population level

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