Weed evolution after crop gene introgression: greater survival and fecundity of hybrids in a new environment


* E-mail: campbell.633@osu.edu


Crop-wild hybridization may produce offspring with lower fitness than their wild parents due to deleterious crop traits and outbreeding depression. Over time, however, selection for improved fitness could lead to greater invasiveness of hybrid taxa. To examine evolutionary change in crop-wild hybrids, we established four wild (Raphanus raphanistrum) and four hybrid radish populations (R. raphanistrum × Raphanus sativus) in Michigan (MI), USA. Hybrid and wild populations had similar growth rates over four generations, and pollen fertility of hybrids improved. We then measured hybrid and wild fitness components in two common garden sites within the geographical range of wild radish [MI and California (CA)]. Advanced generation hybrids had slightly lower lifetime fecundity than wild plants in MI but exhibited c. 270% greater lifetime fecundity and c. 22% greater survival than wild plants in CA. Our results support the hypothesis that crop-wild hybridization may create genotypes with the potential to displace parental taxa in new environments.