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The Distribution of Selfing Rates in Homosporous Ferns

Douglas E. Soltis and Pamela S. Soltis
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 79, No. 1 (Jan., 1992), pp. 97-100
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2445202
Page Count: 4
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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.
The Distribution of Selfing Rates in Homosporous Ferns
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Abstract

The models of Lande and Schemske predict that among species in which the selfing rate is largely under genetic control and not subject to tremendous environmental variation, the distribution of selfing rates should be bimodal. When this prediction was tested empirically using data from the literature for species of angiosperms and gymnosperms, the distribution of outcrossing rates for all species was clearly bimodal. To provide another empirical test of the prediction, we analyzed mating-system data for 20 species of Pteridophyta (ferns). Homosporous ferns and their allies are unique among vascular plants because three types of mating are possible: intragametophytic selfing (selfing of an individual gametophyte); intergametophytic selfing (analogous to selfing in seed plants); and intergametophytic crossing (analogous to outcrossing in seed plants). The distribution of intragametophytic selfing rates among species of homosporous ferns is clearly uneven. Most species of homosporous ferns would be classified as extreme outcrossers. In contrast, a few species are nearly exclusively inbreeding. In only a few populations of Dryopteris expansa and Hemionitis palmata and a single population of Blechnum spicant do we see convincing evidence of a mixed mating system. The uneven distribution of selfing rates we observed for homosporous ferns, coupled with a corresponding bimodality of the magnitude of genetic load, strongly supports the model.

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