Increased heterosis in selfing populations of a perennial forb

Arabidopsis lyrata subsp. lyrata flowering in the greenhouse. Photo by R. Atchison.

Quantifying the effects of population bottlenecks and inbreeding on genetic variation underlying fitness in natural populations is central to understanding the potential limits to natural selection. One approach is to estimate heterosis in crosses between populations, thus revealing deleterious mutations that have become fixed within populations by random genetic drift. In a recent study published in AoB PLANTS, Oakley et al. estimated heterosis in selfing and outcrossing populations of the perennial herb Arabidopsis lyrata. They found massive heterosis in selfing populations, but strong heterosis even in outcrossing populations. Combined with other sources of information, their results suggest a common history of population bottlenecks, with possibly severe bottlenecks associated with the transition to selfing.


AoB PLANTS is an open-access, online journal that publishes peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of environmental and evolutionary biology. Published by Oxford University Press, AoB PLANTS provides a fast-track pathway for publishing high-quality research, where papers are available online to anyone, anywhere free of charge. Reasons to publish in AoB PLANTS include double-blind peer review of manuscripts, rapid processing time and low open-access charges.

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