Josefin Madjidian. Photo.

Josefin Madjidian

Research coordinator

Josefin Madjidian. Photo.

Estimation of heritability, evolvability and genetic correlations of two pollen and pistil traits involved in a sexual conflict over timing of stigma receptivity in Collinsia heterophylla (Plantaginaceae).


  • Josefin Madjidian
  • Stefan Andersson
  • Åsa Lankinen

Summary, in English

Background and Aims: Heritable genetic variation is crucial for selection to operate, yet there is a paucity of studies quantifying such variation in interactive male/female sexual traits, especially those of plants. Previous work on the annual plant Collinsia heterophylla, a mixed-mating species, suggests that delayed stigma receptivity is involved in a sexual conflict: pollen from certain donors fertilize ovules earlier than others at the expense of reduced maternal seed set and lower levels of pollen competition.

Methods: Parent-offspring regressions and sib analyses were performed to test for heritable genetic variation and co-variation in male and female interactive traits related to the sexual conflict.

Key Results: Some heritable variation and evolvability were found for the female trait (delayed stigma receptivity in presence of pollen), but no evidence was found for genetic variation in the male trait (ability to fertilize ovules early). The results further indicated a marginally significant correlation between a male's ability to fertilize early and early stigma receptivity in offspring. However, despite potential indirect selection of these traits, antagonistic co-evolution may not occur given the lack of heritability of the male trait.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first study of a plant or any hermaphrodite that examines patterns of genetic correlation between two interactive sexual traits, and also the first to assess heritabilities of plant traits putatively involved in a sexual conflict. It is concluded that the ability to delay fertilization in presence of pollen can respond to selection, while the pollen trait has lower evolutionary potential.


  • Ecology


  • Antagonistic trait
  • co-evolution
  • Collinsia heterophylla
  • evolvability
  • genetic correlation
  • genetic variation
  • heritability
  • mate choice
  • pollen competition
  • sexual conflict
  • stigma receptivity.




  • ISSN: 0305-7364