Inbreeding depression in two populations of Arenaria uniflora (Caryophyllaceae) with contrasting mating systems

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I used parallel family-structured crossing designs to investigate the relative performance of self and outcross progeny in selfing and predominantly outcrossing populations of the annual plant Arenaria uniflora. The seller population experienced much lower inbreeding depression (δ=0.05 ± 0.02 SE) than the outcrossers (δ=0.19 ± 0.02 SE). The negative association between genetic load and selfing rate suggests that purgable partially recessive alleles are the primary source of inbreeding depression, as does its late expression in both populations. Inbreeding depression in the seller population, which naturally consists of highly inbred lines, was used to calculate the mean dominance (h=0.33) and incidence rate (U=0.30) of deleterious mutations. In the outcrosser population, significant variation among individuals in the expression of inbreeding depression may reflect lineage-specific differences in inbreeding history or, more probably, random variation in mutational load. The low (≪0.5) inbreeding depression of outcrossers suggests that the maintenance of a mixed mating system in some A. uniflora populations and the evolution of nearly cleistogamous self-pollination in others may reflect local pollinator-mediated selection for selfing rather than the constant 3:2 genetic advantage invoked by many models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-194
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Arenaria uniflora
  • Genetic load
  • Inbreeding depression
  • Mating system
  • Selfing


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