Inbreeding effect on male and female fertility and inheritance of male sterility in Nemophila menziesii (Hydrophyllaceae)

Nadilia N. Gomez, Ruth G. Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Models of the evolution of gynodioecy assume that inbreeding affects male and female fertility equally and ignore quantitative variation in sex expression. The objectives of this study were to assess inbreeding effects, genetic background, and plant maturity on male and female fertility and the mechanism of male sterility inheritance for Nemophila menziesii (Hydrophyllaceae). Frequency of male-sterile flowers, number of anthers and ovules, and percentage of viable pollen were measured on plants from different pedigrees and five inbreeding levels (F = 0, 0.0625, 0.25, 0.5, and 0.75). Quantitative variation in male sterility was evident. As inbreeding increased, anther and ovule number decreased; the effect on anther number was greater than on ovule number. Pedigrees varied in number of male-sterile flowers and inbreeding effects. Frequency of male-sterile flowers was greatest among first flowers. No trade-off between male and female fertility was detected. A model attributing male sterility to a cytoplasmic locus and restoration to male fertility to a nuclear locus accounted for the distribution of complete sterility and hermaphroditism over the pedigrees. This study suggests that models of the evolution and maintenance of gynodioecy should allow for quantitative variation in male and female fertility components due to inbreeding, pedigree, and plant maturity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-746
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2006

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Cytoplasmic male sterility
  • Gynodioecy
  • Hydrophyllaceae
  • Partial male sterility
  • Plant gender
  • Qualitative variation
  • Sex determination
  • Vestigial anther


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