Can selection on a male mating character result in evolutionary change? A selection experiment on California wild radish, Raphanus sativus.

Abstract

PREMISE OF THE STUDY Whenever more pollen grains arrive on stigmas than necessary to fertilize ovules, sexual selection is possible. However, the role of sexual selection remains controversial, in part because of lack of evidence on genetic bases of traits and the response of relevant characters to selection. METHODS In an experiment with Raphanus sativus, we selected on tendency to sire seeds in the stylar or basal regions of fruits. This character is likely related to pollen tube growth rate, and seed position affects rates of abortion and seed predation. We measured differences among families in seed siring and related characters and evaluated responses to selection. KEY RESULTS All replicates showed strong effects of pollen donor family on proportion of seeds sired per fruit in mixed pollinations. Most also showed effects of pollen donor family on number of pollen grains per flower and pollen diameter. Two of four replicates showed a response to selection on position of seeds sired. In responding replicates, we found trade-offs in pollen grain size and number; plants with larger pollen grains sired more seeds in the basal region. CONCLUSIONS Our data suggest a genetic basis for pollen donor ability to sire seeds in competition. The significant response to selection in two replicates shows that position of seeds sired can respond to selection. Thus, all components for sexual selection to occur and affect traits are present. Variation in results among replicates might be due to changes in greenhouse conditions. Environmental effects may contribute to the maintenance of variation in these fitness-related characters.

DOI: 10.3732/ajb.1500171

Cite this paper

@article{Marshall2016CanSO, title={Can selection on a male mating character result in evolutionary change? A selection experiment on California wild radish, Raphanus sativus.}, author={Diane L. Marshall and Ann S. Evans}, journal={American journal of botany}, year={2016}, volume={103 3}, pages={553-67} }