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Hybridization as a dispersal mechanism

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-26, 10:31 authored by Bradley PottsBradley Potts, James ReidJames Reid
An example from the genus Eucalyptus is used to argue that hybridization may be of evolutionary significance as a means of gene dispersal where seed dispersal is limited. A previous study of regeneration of E. risdonii and E. amygdalina indicated that the current selective regime was favoring E. risdonii. However, the dispersal of E. risdonii by seeds is shown to be limited (S. = 4.6 m). By comparison, the flow of E. risdoriii genes into the range of E.amygdalina by pollen dispersal and F1 hybridization is widespread (r, = 82 m). While the actual level of hybridization is low, interspecific hybridization effectively doubles the dispersal of E. risdonii genes into the range of E. amygdalina. This pollen flow can have a significant genetic impact, since isolated hybrids or patches of abnormal phenotypes have been found 200-300 m from the species boundary. Based on lignotuber size, same of these patches appear to have been founded by F1 hybrids. The frequency af E. risdonii types in the patches appears to increase with patch size suggesting that there is selection for this phcenotype in subsequent generations. E. risdonii-like individuals were recovered in the progeny from both intermediate and E. risdonii backcross phenotypes. These results suggest that E. risdonii may invade suitable habitat islands within the E. amygdnlina forest, independently of seed migration, by long-distance pollen migration followed by selection for the gene combinations of the pollen parent.


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