A segregating inversion generates fitness variation in yellow monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus)

Young Wha Lee, Lila Fishman, John K. Kelly, John H. Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Polymorphic chromosomal rearrangements can bind hundreds of genes into single genetic loci with diverse effects. Rearrangements are often associated with local adaptation and speciation and may also be an important component of genetic variation within populations. We genetically and phenotypically characterize a segregating inversion (inv6) in the Iron Mountain (IM) population of Mimulus guttatus (yellow monkeyflower). We initially mapped inv6 as a region of recombination suppression in three F2 populations resulting from crosses among IM plants. In each case, the F1 parent was heterozygous for a derived haplotype, homogenous across markers spanning over 5 Mb of chromsome 6. In the three F2 populations, inv6 reduced male and female fitness components. In addition, inv6 carriers suffered an ~30% loss of pollen viability in the field. Despite these costs, inv6 exists at moderate frequency (~8%) in the natural population, suggesting counterbalancing fitness benefits that maintain the polymorphism. Across 4 years of monitoring in the field, inv6 had an overall significant positive effect on seed production (lifetime female fitness) of carriers. This benefit was particularly strong in harsh years and may be mediated (in part) by strong positive effects on flower production. These data suggest that opposing fitness effects maintain an intermediate frequency, and as a consequence, inv6 generates inbreeding depression and high genetic variance. We discuss these findings in relation to the theory of inbreeding depression and the maintenance of fitness variation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1473-1484
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2016


  • Chromosomal rearrangement
  • Inbreeding depression
  • Mimulus guttatus
  • Polymorphism
  • Variation


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