Flower color polymorphism maintained by overdominant selection in Sisyrinchium sp

Yuma Takahashi, Koh ichi Takakura, Masakado Kawata

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Negative frequency-dependent selection derived from positive frequency-dependent foraging is the best-known selection force maintaining genetic polymorphism within a population. However, in flowering plants, positive frequency-dependent foraging by pollinators is expected to accelerate the loss of low-frequency morphs by conferring a fitness advantage to the common morph, leading to monomorphism. In Japan, a non-native species, Sisyrinchium sp., exhibits conspicuous flower color polymorphism within a population comprising both purple morphs (homozygous recessive) and white morphs (heterozygous or homozygous dominant). Here we quantified genotype-specific reproductive success in order to reveal the contribution of overdominant selection on the maintenance of flower color polymorphism in this species. In artificial pollination experiments using individuals with identified genotypes, female reproductive success was higher in the heterozygote than in either homozygote. The frequency of purple morphs in natural populations (ca. 31 %) is similar to the frequency predicted by overdominant selection (25 %). Our results suggest that overdominant selection contributes to the maintenance of color morphs in the natural population of this species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)933-939
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Plant Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Sep 9


  • Color polymorphism
  • Heterozygote advantage
  • Overdominant selection
  • Reward-bearing flowers
  • Sisyrinchium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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