Antagonism between local dispersal and self-incompatibility systems in a continuous plant population



    1. Department of Genetics Bioinformatics Research Center North Carolina State University, Campus Box 7566, Raleigh, NC 27695-7566, USA
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Reed A. Cartwright, Fax: 1-919-515-7315; E-mail:


Many self-incompatible plant species exist in continuous populations in which individuals disperse locally. Local dispersal of pollen and seeds facilitates inbreeding because pollen pools are likely to contain relatives. Self-incompatibility promotes outbreeding because relatives are likely to carry incompatible alleles. Therefore, populations can experience an antagonism between these forces. In this study, a novel computational model is used to explore the effects of this antagonism on gene flow, allelic diversity, neighbourhood sizes, and identity by descent. I confirm that this antagonism is sensitive to dispersal levels and linkage. However, the results suggest that there is little to no difference between the effects of gametophytic and sporophytic self-incompatibility systems (GSI and SSI) on unlinked loci. More importantly, both GSI and SSI affect unlinked loci in a manner similar to obligate outcrossing without mating types. This suggests that the primary evolutionary impact of self-incompatibility systems may be to prevent selfing, and prevention of biparental inbreeding might be a beneficial side-effect.