Citation Vallejo-Marin M, Quenu M, Ritchie S & Meeus S (2017) Partial interfertility between independently originated populations of the neo-allopolyploid Mimulus peregrinus [Interfertility of independently originated allopolyploid populations]. Plant Systematics and Evolution, 303 (8), pp. 1081-1092. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00606-017-1426-7
Abstract The reduction in genetic diversity in polyploid lineages, formed from whole-genome duplication of a few individuals, can affect their long-term evolutionary potential. Because most polyploids originate multiple times, secondary contact and gene exchange among independently formed polyploids can create novel genetic combinations and reduce the severity of genetic bottlenecks. However, independently originated polyploids may be reproductively isolated from each other due to genetic and chromosomal differences predating the polyploidisation event, or evolving subsequently in the dynamic genomes of young polyploid populations. Here we conducted experimental crosses to investigate the phenotype and interfertility between two independently originated populations of the allopolyploid Mimulus peregrinus (Phrymaceae). We found that individuals from the two populations are phenotypically distinct, but that inter- and intrapopulation crosses are not statistically different. Interpopulation crosses produce viable and fertile offspring, although our results suggest the existence of partial reproductive barriers in the form of reduced pollen viability. We found no difference in pollen viability between F1 and F2 generations. In contrast, we detected a reduction in floral and vegetative size, and in the proportion of plants that flowered, between F1 and F2 generations for both intra- and interpopulation crosses. Together, our results indicate that populations of independent origin can partially exchange genes, producing variable offspring, and that the phenotype of M. peregrinus may be unstable in the early generations. Natural selection on genetically-based variation may be required for the evolution of more stable and fertile individuals of this nascent allopolyploid.