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Keywords:

  • breeding systems;
  • distyly;
  • genders;
  • heterostyly;
  • mating systems;
  • polymorphism;
  • sporophytic self-incompatibility;
  • sexes

Abstract

Androdioecy, the occurrence of males and hermaphrodites in a single population, is a rare breeding system because the conditions for maintenance of males are restrictive. In the androdioecious shrub Phillyrea angustifolia, high male frequencies are observed in some populations. The species has a sporophytic self-incompatibility (SI) system with two self-incompatibility groups, which ensures that two groups of hermaphrodites can each mate only with the other group, whereas males can fertilize hermaphrodites of both groups. Here, we analyse a population genetic model to investigate the dynamics of such an androdioecious species, assuming that self-incompatibility and sex phenotypes are determined by a single locus. Our model confirms a previous prediction that a slight reproductive advantage of males relative to hermaphrodites allows the maintenance of males at high equilibrium frequencies. The model predicts different equilibria between hermaphrodites of the two SI groups and males, depending on the male advantage, the initial composition of the population and the population size, whose effect is studied through stochastic simulations. Although the model can generate high male frequencies, observed frequencies are considerably higher than the model predicts. We finally discuss how this model may help explain the large male frequency variation observed in other androdioecious species of Oleaceae: some species show only androdioecious populations, as P. angustifolia, whereas others show populations either completely hermaphrodite or androdioecious.