Does pollen competition reduce the cost of inbreeding?

Scott Armbruster, D. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We hypothesize that floral features promoting pollen competition in angiosperms may have evolved, in some cases, in response to selection generated by the negative effects of inbreeding, at least in plants with mixed-mating systems. Screening of haploid genotypes through pollen competition may purge recessive (or additive) deleterious alleles that are expressed in haploid pollen and hence may reduce the fitness cost of self-pollination, geitonogamy, or biparental inbreeding. We tested one prediction of this hypothesis, that offspring produced by more intense competition among self-pollen have higher fitness than offspring produced by less intense competition. Dalechampia scandens (Euphorbiaceae) flowers were pollinated with pollen from other flowers on the same plant (geitonogamous self-fertilization). Those flowers experiencing more intense pollen competition as a result of low pollen dispersion (positional variance) on the stigma produced heavier seeds and seedlings with faster-growing radicles than flowers experiencing less intense pollen competition (high pollen dispersion), as predicted by our hypothesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1939-1943
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


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