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Interspecific Gene Flow in Cucurbita: C. texana vs. C. pepo

Kurt J. Kirkpatrick and Hugh D. Wilson
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 75, No. 4 (Apr., 1988), pp. 519-527
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2444217
Page Count: 9
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Interspecific Gene Flow in Cucurbita: C. texana vs. C. pepo
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Abstract

The potential for interspecific genetic exchange was examined by monitoring flowering patterns, pollinator movement, and gene flow among experimental populations of the Texas gourd (Cucurbita texana) and cultivars of Cucurbita pepo While flowering patterns and pollinator movement tended to maximize self-pollination and local gene exchange, movement of effective pollen exceeded 1,300 m. This movement, mediated by the solitary bee Xenoglossa strenua and monitored by tracking allozyme variants, produced interspecific hybrids in 5% of the progeny from experimental plants. Interspecific gene exchange occurred in either direction with either species serving as staminate or pistillate parent. No obvious constraints to gene flow among plants representing C texana and distinctive cultivars (vars. ovifera, medullosa, melopepo) of C. pepo were detected. Genetic exchange among different species and cultivars is enhanced by the foraging behavior of Xenoglossa Multiple visits to either staminate (pollen carryover) or pistillate (multiple pollinations) flowers often result in the deposition of mixed pollen on receptive stigmas. The wild type (C. texana) can donate and receive effective pollen when growing under both weedy and natural conditions. The observed lack of interspecific reproductive isolation supports treatment of cultivars and wild types as a single species and, in conjunction with available data concerning temporal/geographical relationships among bees, squash, gourds, and humans in eastern North America, suggests the possibility of long-term genetic interaction between wild types and domesticates.

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