Effects of pollen availability and the mutation bias on the fixation of mutations disabling the male specificity of self-incompatibility

Authors

  • T. Tsuchimatsu,

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, Institute of Plant Biology & Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
    2. Gregor Mendel Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria
    • Correspondence: Takashi Tsuchimatsu, Gregor Mendel Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Bohr-Gasse 3, A-1030 Vienna, Austria.

      Tel.: +43 1 79044 9906; fax: +43 1 79044 9001; e-mail: takashi.tsuchimatsu@gmi.oeaw.ac.at

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  • K. K. Shimizu

    1. Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, Institute of Plant Biology & Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
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Abstract

The evolution of self-compatibility (SC) by the loss of self-incompatibility (SI) is regarded as one of the most frequent transitions in flowering plants. SI systems are generally characterized by specific interactions between the male and female specificity genes encoded at the S-locus. Recent empirical studies have revealed that the evolution of SC is often driven by male SC-conferring mutations at the S-locus rather than by female mutations. In this study, using a forward simulation model, we compared the fixation probabilities of male vs. female SC-conferring mutations at the S-locus. We explicitly considered the effects of pollen availability in the population and bias in the occurrence of SC-conferring mutations on the male and female specificity genes. We found that male SC-conferring mutations were indeed more likely to be fixed than were female SC-conferring mutations in a wide range of parameters. This pattern was particularly strong when pollen availability was relatively high. Under such a condition, even if the occurrence of mutations was biased strongly towards the female specificity gene, male SC-conferring mutations were much more often fixed. Our study demonstrates that fixation probabilities of those two types of mutation vary strongly depending on ecological and genetic conditions, although both types result in the same evolutionary consequence—the loss of SI.

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