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Am Nat. 2004 Aug;164(2):145-56. Epub 2004 Jul 6.

Reconstructing the origin of Helianthus deserticola: survival and selection on the desert floor.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA. brgross@indiana.edu

Abstract

The diploid hybrid species Helianthus deserticola inhabits the desert floor, an extreme environment relative to its parental species Helianthus annuus and Helianthus petiolaris. Adaptation to the desert floor may have occurred via selection acting on transgressive, or extreme, traits in early hybrids between the parental species. We explored this possibility through a field experiment in the hybrid species' native habitat using H. deserticola, H. annuus, H. petiolaris, and two populations of early-generation (BC(2)) hybrids between the parental species, which served as proxies for the ancestral genotype of the ancient hybrid species. Character expression was evaluated for each genotypic class. Helianthus deserticola was negatively transgressive for stem diameter, leaf area, and flowering date, and the latter two traits are likely to be advantageous in a desert environment. The BC(2) hybrids contained a range of variation that overlapped these transgressive trait means, and an analysis of phenotypic selection revealed that some of the selective pressures on leaf size and flowering date, but not stem diameter, would move the BC(2) population toward the H. deserticola phenotype. Thus, H. deserticola may have originated from habitat-mediated directional selection acting on hybrids between H. annuus and H. petiolaris in a desert environment.

PMID:
15278840
PMCID:
PMC2562696
DOI:
10.1086/422223
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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