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Evolution. 2002 Jul;56(7):1362-73.

High male reproductive success of hermaphrodites in the androdioecious Phillyrea angustifolia.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Génétique et Evolution des Populations Végétales, UPRESA CNRS 8016, Université Lille 1, Villeneuve d'Ascq, France. cv5@st-andrews.ac.uk


Androdioecy, the coexistence of males and hermaphrodites within a population, is a rare breeding system, often considered as unlikely to evolve because of restrictive conditions for its maintenance. Phillyrea angustifolia, a wind-pollinated shrub, is one of the handful species reported to be androdioecious. Our previous studies have shown that natural populations of this species in southern France exhibit higher male frequencies (approximately 50%) than predicted on theoretical grounds. Thus, the male functionality of hermaphrodites is still debated. To assess the functional breeding system of this species in the wild, a paternity analysis was performed with two highly polymorphic microsatellite loci on 729 seeds collected on 10 maternal shrubs in a natural population of 24 mature individuals of P. angustifolia. A large proportion of seeds were found to have been sired by pollen from outside the population. Analysis of seeds sired by individuals within the study population revealed a high male fertility of hermaphrodites resulting in a low male advantage in fertility for male plants. Intermate distances were found to have a strong impact on male reproductive success, whereas sexual morph had no effect, with males and hermaphrodites performing equivalently. This study is the first to unequivocally document the occurrence of a male function of hermaphrodites in a natural population of an androdioecious species.

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