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Keywords:

  • gynodioecy;
  • inbreeding depression;
  • local mate competition;
  • partial male sterility;
  • sex ratio;
  • Silene vulgaris

Summary

  • • 
    In gynodioecious species, sex expression is generally determined through cytoplasmic male sterility genes interacting with nuclear restorers of the male function. With dominant restorers, there may be an excess of females in the progeny of self-fertilized compared with cross-fertilized hermaphrodites. Moreover, the effect of inbreeding on late stages of the life cycle remains poorly explored.
  • • 
    Here, we used hermaphrodites of the gynodioecious Silene vulgaris originating from three populations located in different valleys in the Alps to investigate the effects of two generations of self- and cross-fertilization on sex ratio and gender variation.
  • • 
    We detected an increase in females in the progeny of selfed compared with outcrossed hermaphrodites and inbreeding depression for female and male fertility. Male fertility correlated positively with sex ratio differences between outbred and inbred progeny, suggesting that dominant restorers are likely to influence male fertility qualitatively and quantitatively in S. vulgaris.
  • • 
    We argue that the excess of females in the progeny of selfed compared with outcrossed hermaphrodites and inbreeding depression for gamete production may contribute to the maintenance of females in gynodioecious populations of S. vulgaris because purging of the genetic load is less likely to occur.