Asymmetrical crossing barriers in angiosperms

P. Tiffin, M. S. Olson, L. C. Moyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

256 Scopus citations


Patterns of reproductive isolation between species may provide insight into the mechanisms and evolution of barriers to interspecific gene exchange. We used data from published interspecific hybridization experiments from 14 genera of angiosperms in order to test for the presence of asymmetrical barriers to gene exchange. Reproductive isolation was examined at three life-history stages: the ability of interspecific crosses to produce seeds, the viability of F1 hybrids, and the fertility of F1 hybrids. Statistically significant asymmetries in the strength of reproductive isolation between species were detected in all genera and at each of the three life-history stages. Asymmetries in seed production may be caused by a variety of mechanisms including differences in stigma/style lengths, self compatibility and differential fruit abortion. Asymmetries in post-zygotic isolation are probably caused by nuclear-cytoplasmic interactions. Asymmetrical reproductive isolation between plant taxa may have important implications for the dynamics of hybrid zones, the direction of genetic introgression and the probability of reinforcement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)861-867
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1469
StatePublished - Apr 22 2001


  • Artificial hybridizations
  • Gene flow
  • Nuclear-cytoplasmic interactions
  • Reproductive isolation
  • Speciation


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