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Am J Bot. 2002 Apr;89(4):655-63. doi: 10.3732/ajb.89.4.655.

Evolution of phenotypic integration in Brassica (Brassicaceae).

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  • 1Department of Botany.


Phenotypic integration is a necessary characteristic of living organisms that results from genetic, developmental, and functional relationships among traits. The nature of these relationships can be influenced by the environment. We examined patterns of phenotypic integration of six species of rapid cycling Brassica and of Raphanus sativus within a phylogenetic context. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that hybrid species show intermediate levels of integration in morphological and life-history characters compared to their putative parentals. We used matrix correlation tests to examine if cytogenetic relationships or ecological similarities among species partially explained the patterns of phenotypic integration. There was a significant negative relationship between the ecological and cytogenetic matrices, suggesting that more closely related species were ecologically dissimilar. However, neither ecological nor cytogenetic matrices significantly explained differences among species in the pattern of their phenotypic correlations. Set correlation analysis indicated that important traits within the modules and the strength of the correlations within modules differed across species. We also found that there were a greater number of significant correlations between modules than within modules. Hybrid species were more integrated (had greater number of significant trait correlations) than either of their parents, both within and between modules. However, univariate analyses of character means of the hybrid species were not significantly different from the combined mean of their putative parents for 5, 6, or 7 of the 11 phenotypic characters (for Brassica napus, B. juncea and B. carinata, respectively); for the remaining characters, the hybrids were more similar to one of the parents.

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