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Heredity (Edinb). 2008 Oct;101(4):351-8. doi: 10.1038/hdy.2008.60. Epub 2008 Jul 2.

Inferences on the number and frequency of S-pollen gene (SFB) specificities in the polyploid Prunus spinosa.

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1Molecular Evolution Group, Instituto de Biologia Molecular e Celular, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.


In flowering plants, self-incompatibility is a genetic mechanism that prevents self-fertilization. In gametophytic self-incompatibility (GSI), pollen specificity is encoded by the haploid genotype of the pollen tube. In GSI, specificities are maintained by frequency-dependent selection, and for diploid species, at equilibrium, equal specificity frequencies (isoplethy) are expected. This prediction has been tested in diploid, but never in polyploid self-incompatible species. For the latter, there is no theoretical expectation regarding isoplethy. Here, we report the first empirical study on specificity frequencies in a natural population of a polyploid self-incompatible species, Prunus spinosa. A total of 32 SFB (the pollen S gene) putative specificities are observed in a large sample from a natural population. Although P. spinosa is polyploid, the number of specificities found is similar to that reported for other diploid Rosaceae species. Unequal specificity frequencies are observed.

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