This research received financial support from National Science Foundation grant DEB-0080437 to M.B.C.
Gene expression, Heterosis, Plant hybridization
Early-generation hybrid fitness is difficult to interpret because heterosis can obscure the effects of hybrid breakdown. We used controlled reciprocal crosses and common garden experiments to distinguish between effects of heterosis and nuclear and cytonuclear epistasis among morphotypes and advanced-generation hybrid derivative populations in the Piriqueta caroliniana (Turneraceae) plant complex. Seed germination, growth, and sexual reproduction of first-generation hybrids, inbred parental lines, and outbred parental lines were compared under field conditions. Average vegetative performance was greater for hybrids than for inbred lines, and firstseason growth was similar for hybrids and outbred parental lines. Hybrid survival surpassed that of inbred lines and was equal to or greater than outbred lines’ survival, and more F₁ than parental plants reproduced. Reductions in hybrid fitness due to Dobzhansky-Muller incompatibilities (epistasis among divergent genetic elements) were expressed as differences in vegetative growth, survival, and reproduction between plants from reciprocal crosses for both F₁ and backcross hybrid generations. Comparing performance of hybrids against parental genotypes from intra- and interpopulation crosses allowed a more robust prediction of F₁ hybrids’ success and more accurate interpretations of the genetic architecture of F₁ hybrid vigor.
Rhode, J. M., and Cruzan, M. B. (2005). Contributions of Heterosis and Epistasis to Hybrid Fitness. American Naturalist, 166(5), E124-E139.