Accurate estimates of inbreeding depression are necessary in order to predict the evolutionary dynamics of a population, but many studies estimate inbreeding depression based solely on components of female function such as fruit set, seed set, and seed quality. Because total fitness is achieved through both male and female functions in hermaphroditic plants, estimates of both male and female fitness are needed to estimate accurately the magnitude of inbreeding depression. Seedlings of a wild gourd, Cucurbita pepo subsp. texana, with coefficients of inbreeding of 0 and 0.75 were planted in an experimental garden, and several components of male and female fitness were measured over the course of the growing season. Fitness in inbred plants was confounded by both maternal and genetic inbreeding effects. Inbred individuals produced significantly fewer fruits than outcrossed individuals, and percentage germination of seeds from inbred individuals was significantly lower than seeds from outcrossed individuals. Inbred plants also produced significantly fewer staminate flowers and marginally fewer and smaller pollen grains per flower. Pollen from inbred plants also grew significantly more slowly in vitro than pollen from outcrossed plants. Multiplicative estimates of inbreeding depression revealed inbreeding depression for both male and female functions in wild gourd, but inbreeding depression through female function was stronger than inbreeding depression through male function.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science