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Sexual Hieracium pilosella plants are better inter-specific, while apomictic plants are better intra-specific competitors


Sailer, Christian; Schmid, Bernhard; Stöcklin, Jürg; Grossniklaus, Ueli (2014). Sexual Hieracium pilosella plants are better inter-specific, while apomictic plants are better intra-specific competitors. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 16(2):43-51.

Abstract

Apomixis, asexual reproduction through seeds, occurs in over 40 plant families. This widespread phenomenon can lead to the fixation of successful genotypes, resulting in a fitness advantage. On the other hand, apomicts are expected to lose their fitness advantage if the environment changes because of their limited evolutionary potential, which is due to low genetic variability and the potential accumulation of deleterious somatic mutations. Nonetheless, some apomicts have been extremely successful, for example certain apomictic accessions of Hieracium pilosella L. from New Zealand, where the plant is invasive. Here, we investigate whether the success of these apomictic accessions could be due to a fitness advantage by comparing the vegetative competitiveness of apomictic H. pilosella from New Zealand with sexual accessions of H. pilosella from Europe. Sexual and apomictic plants were grown either (A) alone (no competition), (B) in competition with the other type (intra-specific competition), (C) in competition with the grass Bromus erectus (inter-specific competition), and (D) in competition with the other type and the grass B. erectus (intra- and inter-specific competition). To distinguish effects of apomixis and the region of origin, different H. pilosella lineages were compared. Furthermore, experiments were carried out to investigate effects of the ploidy level. We show that sexual plants are better inter-specific competitors than apomicts in terms of vegetative reproduction (number of stolons) and vegetative spread (stolon length), while apomicts do better than sexuals in intra-specific competition. The magnitude of the effect was in some cases dependent on the ploidy levels of the plants. Furthermore, apomicts always produced more stolons than sexuals, suggesting potential displacement of sexuals by apomicts where they co-occur.

Abstract

Apomixis, asexual reproduction through seeds, occurs in over 40 plant families. This widespread phenomenon can lead to the fixation of successful genotypes, resulting in a fitness advantage. On the other hand, apomicts are expected to lose their fitness advantage if the environment changes because of their limited evolutionary potential, which is due to low genetic variability and the potential accumulation of deleterious somatic mutations. Nonetheless, some apomicts have been extremely successful, for example certain apomictic accessions of Hieracium pilosella L. from New Zealand, where the plant is invasive. Here, we investigate whether the success of these apomictic accessions could be due to a fitness advantage by comparing the vegetative competitiveness of apomictic H. pilosella from New Zealand with sexual accessions of H. pilosella from Europe. Sexual and apomictic plants were grown either (A) alone (no competition), (B) in competition with the other type (intra-specific competition), (C) in competition with the grass Bromus erectus (inter-specific competition), and (D) in competition with the other type and the grass B. erectus (intra- and inter-specific competition). To distinguish effects of apomixis and the region of origin, different H. pilosella lineages were compared. Furthermore, experiments were carried out to investigate effects of the ploidy level. We show that sexual plants are better inter-specific competitors than apomicts in terms of vegetative reproduction (number of stolons) and vegetative spread (stolon length), while apomicts do better than sexuals in intra-specific competition. The magnitude of the effect was in some cases dependent on the ploidy levels of the plants. Furthermore, apomicts always produced more stolons than sexuals, suggesting potential displacement of sexuals by apomicts where they co-occur.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
07 Faculty of Science > Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
580 Plants (Botany)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Apomixis; Sexuality; Inter-specific competition; Intra-specific competition; Invasiveness
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:09 Jul 2014 15:37
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:57
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1433-8319
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ppees.2014.01.001

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