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Effective Population Size and Genetic Drift in Tristylous Eichhornia paniculata (Pontederiaceae)

Brian C. Husband and Spencer C. H. Barrett
Evolution
Vol. 46, No. 6 (Dec., 1992), pp. 1875-1890
DOI: 10.2307/2410037
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410037
Page Count: 16
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Effective Population Size and Genetic Drift in Tristylous Eichhornia paniculata (Pontederiaceae)
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Abstract

Populations of the tristylous, annual Eichhornia paniculata are markedly differentiated with respect to frequency of mating types. This variation is associated with evolutionary changes in mating system, from predominant outcrossing to high self-fertilization. To assess the potential influence of genetic drift acting on this variation, we estimated effective population size in 10 populations from northeastern Brazil using genetic and demographic methods. Effective size (Ne) was inferred from temporal changes in allele frequency at two to eight isozyme loci and also calculated using five demographic variables: 1) the number of flowering individuals (N); 2) temporal fluctuations in N; 3) variance in flower number; 4) frequency of mating types; and 5) selfing rate. Average Ne based on isozyme data was 15.8, range 3.4-70.6, and represented a fraction (mean Ne/N = 0.106) of the census number of individuals (mean N = 762.8; range: 30.5-5,040). Temporal variation in N and variance in flower number each reduced Ne to about a half of N, whereas mating type frequencies and selfing rate caused only small reductions in Ne relative to N. All estimates of Ne based on demographic variables were considerably larger than those obtained from genetic data. The two kinds of estimates were in general agreement, however, when all demographic variables were combined into a single measure. Monte Carlo simulations indicated that effective size must be fewer than about 40 for drift to overcome the frequency-dependent selection that maintains the polymorphism for mating type. Applying the average Ne/N value to 167 populations censused in northeastern Brazil indicated that 72% had effective sizes below this number. This suggests that genetic drift is likely to play a dominant role in natural populations of E. paniculata.

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