Patterns of reproductive isolation in three angiosperm genera

Leonie C. Moyle, Matthew S. Olson, Peter Tiffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

200 Scopus citations


Analyses among animal species have found that reproductive isolation increases monotonically with genetic distance, evolves more quickly for prezygotic than postzygotic traits, and is stronger among sympatric than allopatric species pairs. The latter pattern is consistent with expectations under the reinforcement hypothesis. To determine whether similar trends are found among plant species, patterns of reproductive isolation (postpollination prezygotic, postzygotic, and "total" isolation) in three plant genera (Glycine, Silene, Streptanthus) were examined using data from previously published artificial hybridization experiments. In Silene, all measures of reproductive isolation were positively correlated with genetic distance. In contrast, in Glycine and Streptanthus, correlations between reproductive isolation and genetic distance were weak or nonsignificant, possibly due to the influence of biologically unusual taxa, variable evolutionary forces acting in different lineages, or insufficient time to accumulate reproductive isolation. There was no evidence that postpollination prezygotic reproductive isolation evolved faster than postzygotic isolation in Glycine or Silene. We also detected no evidence for faster accumulation of postmating prezygotic isolation between sympatric than allopatric species pairs; thus we found no evidence for the operation of speciation via reinforcement. In Silene, which included six polyploid species, results suggest that changes in ploidy disrupt a simple monotonic relationship between isolation and genetic distance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1195-1208
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Genetic distance
  • Plants
  • Polyploidy
  • Postzygotic
  • Prezygotic
  • Reinforcement
  • Speciation


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