Effects of crossing distance on offspring fitness and developmental stability in Dalechampia scandens (Euphorbiaceae)

C. Pelabon, M. Carlson, T. Hansen, Scott Armbruster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Crosses between genetically close and distant populations of Dalechampia scandens (Euphorbiaceae) were made to test whether the responses of various fitness components and measurements of developmental stability were affected by the outcrossing distance (level of outbreeding). Two fecundity traits, seed set and seed mass, decreased consistently with increasing level of outbreeding, and hybrids between the most divergent populations were sterile. Effects of the genetic distance between parental populations on viability traits, survival and vigor at 1 month of age, were highly idiosyncratic. Hybrids of one long-distance combination had no reduction in survival and vigor, while both traits were greatly reduced in the other long-distance combination. The expression of outbreeding depression on fecundity traits differed between reciprocal crosses in some hybrids but not others; thus, hybrid breakdown may have been due to cytoplasmic-by-nuclear gene interactions, reduced endosperm formation, or an interaction between progeny and maternal genotype. None of the measures of developmental stability had a consistent relationship with either genetic distance between parental populations or seedling vigor. These results suggest that fecundity and viability traits may be differentially affected by hybridization, probably due to differences in genetic architecture among populations. This study also confirms that developmental stability, as measured by the level of fluctuating asymmetry, is not a reliable index of genetic stress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)842-851
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2005


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