Selfish evolution of cytonuclear hybrid incompatibility in Mimulus

Andrea L. Case, Findley R. Finseth, Camille M. Barr, Lila Fishman

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36 Scopus citations


Intraspecific coevolution between selfish elements and suppressors may promote interspecific hybrid incompatibility, but evidence of this process is rare. Here, we use genomic data to test alternative models for the evolution of cytonuclear hybrid male sterility in Mimulus. In hybrids between Iron Mountain (IM) Mimulus guttatus × Mimulus nasutus, two tightly linked M. guttatus alleles (Rf1/Rf2) each restore male fertility by suppressing a local mitochondrial male-sterility gene (IM-CMS). Unlike neutral models for the evolution of hybrid incompatibility loci, selfish evolution predicts that the Rf alleles experienced strong selection in the presence of IM-CMS. Using whole-genome sequences, we compared patterns of population-genetic variation in Rf at IM to a neighbouring population that lacks IM-CMS. Consistent with local selection in the presence of IM-CMS, the Rf region shows elevated FST, high local linkage disequilibrium and a distinct haplotype structure at IM, but not at Cone Peak (CP), suggesting a recent sweep in the presence of IM-CMS. In both populations, Rf2 exhibited lower polymorphism than other regions, but the low-diversity outliers were different between CP and IM. Our results confirm theoretical predictions of ubiquitous cytonuclear conflict in plants and provide a population-genetic mechanism for the evolution of a common form of hybrid incompatibility.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20161493
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1838
StatePublished - Sep 14 2016


  • Cytonuclear coevolution
  • Cytoplasmic male sterility
  • Hybrid incompatibility
  • Mimulus guttatus
  • Selective sweep
  • Speciation


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