This study examines the assumption of the pollen competition hypothesis that genetic differences among microgametophytes lead to differences in pollen performance and result in non-random fertilization. In addition, we examined the assumption that pollen performance is genetically correlated with sporophyte vigor due to an overlap in gene expression between the two stages of the life cycle. The results from a pollen mixture experiment in which two cultivars of common zucchini were used show that the ability to sire seeds is nonrandom with respect to the cultivar of the pollen donor plant. The proportion of the progeny sired by the two cultivars is not independent of the region of the fruit where the seeds are produced. The progeny sired by the yellow cultivar outperformed the progeny sired by the green cultivar in a greenhouse study. In addition, the progeny sired by the yellow cultivar from the stylar region of the fruit germinated faster and had more leaf area than the progeny sired by the same cultivar from the peduncular end of the fruit. Thus, the most vigorous progeny are obtained from the stylar region of the fruit where the ovules are fertilized by the most vigorous microgametophytes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology