In homomorphic self-incompatibility (SI) systems of plants, the loci controlling the pollen and pistil types are tightly linked, and this prevents the generation of compatible combinations of alleles expressing pollen and pistil types, which would result in self-fertilization. We modeled the initial invasion of the first pollen and pistil alleles in gametophytic SI to determine whether these alleles can stably coexist in a population without tight linkage. We assume pollen and pistil loci each carry an incompatibility allele S and an allele without an incompatibility functionN. We assume that pollen with an S allele are incompatible with pistils carrying S alleles, whereas other crosses are compatible. Ovules in pistils carrying an Sallele suffer viability costs because recognition consumes resources. We found that the cost of carrying a pistil S allele allows pollen and pistil S alleles to coexist in a stable equilibrium if linkage is partial. This occurs because parents that carry pistil S alleles but are homozygous for pollen N alleles cannot avoid self-fertilization; however, they suffer viability costs. Hence, pollen N alleles are selected again. When pollen and pistil S alleles can coexist in a polymorphic equilibrium, selection will favor tighter linkage.
- Pistil specificity genes
- Pollen specificity genes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics