Prefertilization mechanisms influencing selfing rates are thought to be absent in conifers. Outcrossing in conifers is promoted via an embryo-lethal system, but the genetic mechanism is poorly understood. This study is the first experimental profile of the genetic mechanism promoting outcrossing in conifers. Molecular dissection of a Pinus taeda L. selfed pedigree detected a chromosomal region identified as PtTX3020-RPtestg. Within this region, a semilethal factor was tightly linked (r = 0.0076) to a polymorphic expressed sequence tag (EST). The linkage group flanking the lethal factor showed strong heterozygote advantage. Using genotypic frequencies for the linkage group, three hypotheses about the semilethal factor could be tested: (1) the presence of a balanced lethal system, i.e., a lethal factor present in each of the two marker intervals; (2) gametic selection operative prior to fertilization; and (3) a stage-specific lethal factor. Selection acted via the embryo-lethal system. No support for a genetic mechanism operating prior to fertilization was found. The semilethal factor exerted no effect after embryo maturity. The genetic mechanism promoting outcrossing in P. taeda L. appears to have a balancing selection system due to either pseudo-overdominance or true overdominance.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|State||Published - Dec 1 2001|
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