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Keywords:

  • balancing selection;
  • haplotypes;
  • pollen-S gene;
  • recombination;
  • self-incompatibility;
  • sequence diversity

Summary

Incompatibility recognition systems preventing self-fertilization have evolved several times in independent lineages of Angiosperm plants, and three main model systems are well characterized at the molecular level [the gametophytic self-incompatibility (SI) systems of Solanaceae, Rosaceae and Anthirrhinum, the very different system of poppy, and the system in Brassicaceae with sporophytic control of pollen SI reactions]. In two of these systems, the genes encoding both components of pollen-pistil recognition are now known, showing clearly that these two proteins are distinct, that is, SI is a lock-and-key mechanism. Here, we review recent findings in the three well-studied systems in the light of these results and analyse their implications for understanding polymorphism and coevolution of the two SI genes, in the context of a tightly linked genome region.