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Effects of Maternal and Paternal Environment and Genotype on Offspring Phenotype in Solidago altissima L.

Bernhard Schmid and Claudine Dolt
Evolution
Vol. 48, No. 5 (Oct., 1994), pp. 1525-1549
DOI: 10.2307/2410246
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410246
Page Count: 25
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Effects of Maternal and Paternal Environment and Genotype on Offspring Phenotype in Solidago altissima L.
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Abstract

To predict the possible evolutionary response of a plant species to a new environment, it is necessary to separate genetic from environmental sources of phenotypic variation. In a case study of the invader Solidago altissima, the influences of several kinds of parental effects and of direct inheritance and environment on offspring phenotype were separated. Fifteen genotypes were crossed in three 5 x 5 diallels excluding selfs. Clonal replicates of the parental genotypes were grown in two environments such that each diallel could be made with maternal/paternal plants from sand/sand, sand/soil, soil/sand, and soil/soil. In a first experiment (1989) offspring were raised in the experimental garden and in a second experiment (1990) in the glasshouse. Parent plants growing in sand invested less biomass in inflorescences but produced larger seeds than parent plants growing in soil. In the garden experiment, phenotypic variation among offspring was greatly influenced by environmental heterogeneity. Direct genetic variation (within diallels) was found only for leaf characters and total leaf mass. Germination probability and early seedling mass were significantly affected by phenotypic differences among maternal plants because of genotype (genetic maternal effects) and soil environment (general environmental maternal effects). Seeds from maternal plants in sand germinated better and produced bigger seedlings than seeds from maternal plants in soil. They also grew taller with time, probably because competition accentuated the initial differences. Height growth and stem mass at harvest (an integrated account of individual growth history) of offspring varied significantly among crosses within parental combinations (specific environmental maternal effects). In the glasshouse experiment, the influence of environmental heterogeneity and competition could be kept low. Except for early characters, the influence of direct genetic variation was large but again leaf characters (= basic module morphology) seemed to be under stricter genetic control than did size characters. Genetic maternal effects, general environmental maternal effects, and specific environmental maternal effects dominated in early characters. The maternal effects were exerted both via seed mass and directly on characters of young offspring. Persistent effects of the general paternal environment (general environmental paternal effects) were found for leaf length and stem and leaf mass at harvest. They were opposite in direction to the general environmental maternal effects, that is the same genotypes produced "better mothers" in sand but "better fathers" in soil. The general environmental paternal effects must have been due to differences in pollen quality, resulting from pollen selection within the male parent or leading to pre- or postzygotic selection within the female parent. The ranking of crosses according to mean offspring phenotypes was different in the two experiments, suggesting strong interaction of the observed effects with the environment. The correlation structure among characters changed less between experiments than did the pattern of variation of single characters, but under the competitive conditions in the garden plant height seemed to be more directly related to fitness than in the glasshouse. Reduced competition could also explain why maternal effects were less persistent in the glasshouse than in the garden experiment. Evolution via selection of maternal effects would be possible in the study population because these effects are in part due to genetic differences among parents.

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