University Of Tasmania
Costa et al. 2014 PLOSOne heterosis eucalypts.pdf (917.76 kB)

Heterosis may result in selection favouring the products of long-distance pollen dispersal in Eucalyptus

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posted on 2023-05-18, 07:16 authored by Costa e Silva, J, Bradley PottsBradley Potts, Lopez, GA
Using native trees from near the northern and southern extremities of the relatively continuous eastern distribution of Eucalyptus globulus in Tasmania, we compared the progenies derived from natural open-pollination (OP) with those generated from within-region and long-distance outcrossing. Controlled outcrossing amongst eight parents - with four parents from each of the northern and southern regions - was undertaken using a diallel mating scheme. The progeny were planted in two field trials located within the species native range in southern Tasmania, and their survival and diameter growth were monitored over a 13-year-period. The survival and growth performances of all controlled cross types exceeded those of the OP progenies, consistent with inbreeding depression due to a combination of selfing and bi-parental inbreeding. The poorer survival of the northern regional (♀NN) outcrosses compared with the local southern regional outcrosses (♀SS) indicated differential selection against the former. Despite this mal-adaptation of the non-local ♀NN crosses at both southern sites, the survival of the inter-regional hybrids (♀NS and ♀SN) was never significantly different from that of the local ♀SS crosses. Significant site-dependent heterosis was detected for the growth of the surviving long-distance hybrids. This was expressed as mid-parent heterosis, particularly at the more northern planting site. Heterosis increased with age, while the difference between the regional ♀NN and ♀SS crosses remained insignificant at any age at either site. Nevertheless, the results for growth suggest that the fitness of individuals derived from long-distance crossing may be better at the more northern of the planting sites. Our results demonstrate the potential for early-age assessments of pollen dispersal to underestimate realised gene flow, with local inbreeding under natural open-pollination resulting in selection favouring the products of longer-distance pollinations. Indeed, heterosis derived from long-distance pollinations may be sufficient to counter local mal-adaptation, at least in the first generation.


Australian Research Council

SeedEnergy Pty Ltd

Southern Tree Breeding Association


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School of Natural Sciences


Public Library of Science

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United States

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Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Hardwood plantations

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