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Keywords:

  • cytoplasmic–nuclear interaction;
  • genome size;
  • intraspecific hybridization;
  • outbreeding depression;
  • population differentiation;
  • tetraploid

Abstract

Populations within a species may diverge through genetic drift and natural selection. Few studies report on population differentiation in autopolyploids where multiple gene copies and the ratio of cytoplasmic to nuclear genes differ from diploids and may influence divergence. In autotetraploid Campanula americana we created hybrids between populations that differed in geographic proximity and genome size. Differences in genome size (up to 6.5%) did not influence hybrid performance. In contrast, hybrid performance was strongly influenced by population proximity. F1 hybrids between distant populations performed poorly relative to their parents while hybrids between proximate populations outperformed their parents. Outbreeding depression was strongest for juvenile traits. The expression of outbreeding depression often differed between reciprocal hybrids indicating interactions between nuclear and cytoplasmic genes contribute to population differentiation. Because plants were grown under greenhouse conditions, the outbreeding depression was likely due to genetic (underdominance or loss of additive-by-additive epistasis) rather than ecological factors.