Sexual antagonism in the pistil varies among populations of a hermaphroditic mixed-mating plant

E. Hersh, J. A. Madjidian, S. Andersson, M. Strandh, W. S. Armbruster, Å. Lankinen

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Sexual conflicts and their evolutionary outcomes may be influenced by population-specific features such as mating system and ecological context; however, very few studies have investigated the link between sexual conflict and mating system. The self-compatible, mixed-mating hermaphrodite Collinsia heterophylla (Plantaginaceae) is thought to exhibit a sexual conflict over timing of stigma receptivity. This conflict involves (i) delayed stigma receptivity, which intensifies pollen competition, and (ii) early fertilization forced by pollen, which reduces seed set. We investigated the potential for the conflict to occur under field conditions and performed glasshouse crosses within eight populations to assess its consistency across populations. Flowers were visited, and produced seeds after pollination, at all developmental stages, suggesting that the conflict can be of significance under natural conditions. In the glasshouse, early pollination imposed costs in all populations. Overall, the timing of first seed set was most strongly affected by the maternal parent, denoting stronger female than male ability to influence the onset of stigma receptivity. Crosses also revealed a negative relationship between donor- and recipient-related onset of receptivity within individuals, a novel result hinting at trade-offs in sex allocation or a history of antagonistic selection. Neither timing of stigma receptivity, timing of first seed set, nor pollen competitive ability covaried with population outcrossing rate. In conclusion, these results indicate that sexually antagonistic selection may be present in varying degrees in different populations of C. heterophylla, but this variation does not appear to be directly related to mating system variation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1321-1334
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Issue number7
Early online date13 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


  • Collinsia heterophylla
  • conflict cost
  • delayed stigma receptivity
  • mixed-mating
  • pollen competition
  • sexually antagonistic coevolution


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