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Evolution. 1996 Dec;50(6):2201-2206. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.1996.tb03610.x.

POLLEN-TUBE COMPETITION, SIRING SUCCESS, AND CONSISTENT ASYMMETRIC HYBRIDIZATION IN LOUISIANA IRISES.

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1
Department of Genetics, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, 30602-7223.

Abstract

Postpollination mechanisms can play an important role in limiting natural hybridization in plants. Reciprocal hand pollination experiments were performed to study these mechanisms in two species of Louisiana iris: Iris brevicaulis and I. fulva. Relative pollen-tube growth rates changed significantly through time, with I. fulva tubes increasingly outperforming I. brevicaulis tubes in both conspecific and heterospecific styles. However, this pattern of change in relative performance was a poor predictor of siring success: the majority of seeds sired by both maternal species was conspecific rather than hybrid. Experimental crosses and field studies show consistent asymmetric hybridization in Louisiana irises, with I. fulva being a more successful father and a more selective mother than both I. brevicaulis and a third species, I. hexagona. The cause of this pattern is not yet clear, but the pattern itself is unusual. Typically, short-styled species tend to be less successful in reciprocal crosses than long-styled relatives, but I. fulva has shorter styles than either I. brevicaulis or I. hexagona. The effects of pollen-tube competition, differential fertilization, and selective abortion in causing this pattern of asymmetric hybridization is discussed.

KEYWORDS:

Embryo abortion; fertilization success; hybridization; irises; pollen-tube competition; reproductive isolation

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