The genetic architecture of traits associated with the evolution of self-pollination in Mimulus

Lila Fishman, Paul M. Beardsley, Angela Stathos, Charles F. Williams, Jeffrey P. Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Summary: Quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping is a first step toward understanding the genetic basis of adaptive evolution and may also reveal reproductive incompatibilities unique to hybrids. In plants, the shift from outcrossing to self-pollination is common, providing the opportunity for comparisons of QTL architecture among parallel evolutionary transitions. We used QTL mapping in hybrids between the bee-pollinated monkeyflower Mimulus lewisii and the closely related selfer Mimulus parishii to determine the genetic basis of divergence in floral traits and flowering time associated with mating-system evolution, and to characterize hybrid anther sterility. We found a moderately polygenic and highly directional basis for floral size evolution, suggesting adaptation from standing variation or in pursuit of a moving optimum, whereas only a few major loci accounted for substantial flowering-time divergence. Cytonuclear incompatibilities caused hybrid anther sterility, confounding estimation of reproductive organ QTLs. The genetic architecture of floral traits associated with selfing in M. parishii was primarily polygenic, as in other QTL studies of this transition, but in contrast to the previously characterized oligogenic basis of a pollinator shift in close relatives. Hybrid anther sterility appeared parallel at the molecular level to previously characterized incompatibilities, but also raised new questions about cytonuclear co-evolution in plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)907-917
Number of pages11
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Cytoplasmic male sterility
  • Floral evolution
  • Flowering time
  • Hybrid sterility
  • Mating-system evolution
  • Monkeyflower (Mimulus)
  • Quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping
  • Self-pollination


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