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Female sterility associated with increased clonal propagation suggests a unique combination of androdioecy and asexual reproduction in populations of Cardamine amara (Brassicaceae).

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2015
Author Tedder Andrew, Helling Matthias, Pannell John R, Shimizu-Inatsugi Rie, Kawagoe Tetsuhiro, van Campen Julia, Sese Jun, Shimizu Kentaro K,
Project Recurrent patterns in molecular adaptation and speciation: evolutionary genomic analysis using Arabidopsis relatives
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Annals of botany
Volume (Issue) 115(5)
Page(s) 763 - 76
Title of proceedings Annals of botany
DOI 10.1093/aob/mcv006


BACKGROUND AND AIMS The coexistence of hermaphrodites and female-sterile individuals, or androdioecy, has been documented in only a handful of plants and animals. This study reports its existence in the plant species Cardamine amara (Brassicaceae), in which female-sterile individuals have shorter pistils than seed-producing hermaphrodites. METHODS Morphological analysis, in situ manual pollination, microsatellite genotyping and differential gene expression analysis using Arabidopsis microarrays were used to delimit variation between female-sterile individuals and hermaphrodites. KEY RESULTS Female sterility in C. amara appears to be caused by disrupted ovule development. It was associated with a 2.4- to 2.9-fold increase in clonal propagation. This made the pollen number of female-sterile genets more than double that of hermaphrodite genets, which fulfils a condition of co-existence predicted by simple androdioecy theories. When female-sterile individuals were observed in wild androdioecious populations, their ramet frequencies ranged from 5 to 54 %; however, their genet frequencies ranged from 11 to 29 %, which is consistent with the theoretically predicted upper limit of 50 %. CONCLUSIONS The results suggest that a combination of sexual reproduction and increased asexual proliferation by female-sterile individuals probably explains the invasion and maintenance of female sterility in otherwise hermaphroditic populations. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the coexistence of female sterility and hermaphrodites in the Brassicaceae.