Inbreeding depression in self-incompatible North-American Arabidopsis lyrata: disentangling genomic and S-locus-specific genetic load
Newly formed selfing lineages may express recessive genetic load and suffer inbreeding depression. This can have a genome-wide genetic basis, or be due to loci linked to genes under balancing selection. Understanding the genetic architecture of inbreeding depression is important in the context of the maintenance of self-incompatibility and understanding the evolutionary dynamics of S-alleles. We addressed this using North-American subspecies of Arabidopsis lyrata. This species is normally self-incompatible and outcrossing, but some populations have undergone a transition to selfing. The goals of this study were to: (1) quantify the strength of inbreeding depression in North-American populations of A. lyrata; and (2) disentangle the relative contribution of S-linked genetic load compared with overall inbreeding depression. We enforced selfing in self-incompatible plants with known S-locus genotype by treatment with CO2, and compared the performance of selfed vs outcrossed progeny. We found significant inbreeding depression for germination rate (d¼0.33), survival rate to 4 weeks (d¼0.45) and early growth (d¼0.07), but not for flowering rate. For two out of four S-alleles in our design, we detected significant S-linked load reflected by an under-representation of S-locus homozygotes in selfed progeny. The presence or absence of S-linked load could not be explained by the dominance level of S-alleles. Instead, the random nature of the mutation process may explain differences in the recessive deleterious load among lineages.
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