Cytoplasmic male sterility in mimulus hybrids has pleiotropic effects on corolla and pistil traits

C. M. Barr, L. Fishman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The mechanisms underlying genetic associations have important consequences for evolutionary outcomes, but distinguishing linkage from pleiotropy is often difficult. Here, we use a fine mapping approach to determine the genetic basis of association between cytonuclear male sterility and other floral traits in Mimulus hybrids. Previous work has shown that male sterility in hybrids between Mimulus guttatus and Mimulus nasutus is due to interactions between a mitochondrial gene from M. guttatus and two tightly linked nuclear restorer alleles on Linkage Group 7, and that male sterility is associated with reduced corolla size. In the present study, we generated a set of nearly isogenic lines segregating for the restorer region and male sterility, but with unique flanking introgressions. Male-sterile flowers had significantly smaller corollas, longer styles and greater stigmatic exsertion than fertile flowers. Because these effects were significant regardless of the genotypic composition of introgressions flanking the restorer region, they suggest that these floral differences are a direct byproduct of the genetic incompatibility causing anther abortion. In addition, we found a non-significant but intriguing trend for male-sterile plants to produce more seeds per flower than fertile siblings after supplemental pollination. Such pleiotropic effects may underlie the corolla dimorphism frequently observed in gynodioecious taxa and may affect selection on cytoplasmic male sterility genes when they initially arise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)886-893
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011


  • CMS
  • genetic correlation
  • gynodioecy
  • sexual dimorphism


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