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Life-Cycle Components of Selection in Erigeron annuus: II. Genetic Variation

Donald A. Stratton
Evolution
Vol. 46, No. 1 (Feb., 1992), pp. 107-120
DOI: 10.2307/2409808
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2409808
Page Count: 14
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Life-Cycle Components of Selection in Erigeron annuus: II. Genetic Variation
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Abstract

Genetic variation for seedling and adult fitness components was measured under natural conditions to determine the relative importance of the seedling stage for lifetime fitness in Erigeron annuus. Variation in lifetime reproductive success can result from both the persistent effects of genetic variation expressed among seedlings and from variation in adult fitness components. Analysis of covariance was used to separate the stage specific from the cumulative effects of genetic variance expressed earlier in the life cycle. E. annuus produces seeds through apomixis, which allowed measurement of the fitness of replicate genotypes from germination through the entire life cycle. There were significant differences among genotypes for date of emergence, seedling size, survivorship and fecundity, but heritabilities were low, indicating slow response to selection. For all characters, environmental components of variance were one to two orders of magnitude larger than genetic variance components, resulting in broad sense heritabilities less than 0.1. For seedling size and fecundity, all of the genetic variance was in the form of genotype-environment interactions, often with large negative genetic correlations across environments. In contrast, genotypes differed in mean survivorship through one year, but there were no genotype-environment interactions for viability. Genetic differences in viability were primarily expressed as differences in overwinter survivorship. Genotype x environment interactions among sites and blocks were generated early in the life cycle while the genotype x environment interactions in response to competitive environment (open, annual cover, perennial cover) first appeared in adult fecundity. Genetic variation in lifetime fitness was not significant, despite a fourfold difference in mean fitness among genotypes.

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