Rapid evolution of reproductive isolation between incipient outcrossing and selfing Clarkia species

Ryan D. Briscoe Runquist, Eric Chu, Justin L. Iverson, Jason C. Kopp, David A. Moeller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


A major goal of speciation research is to understand the processes involved in the earliest stages of the evolution of reproductive isolation (RI). One important challenge has been to identify systems where lineages have very recently diverged and opportunities for hybridization are present. We conducted a comprehensive examination of the components of RI across the life cycle of two subspecies of Clarkia xantiana, which diverged recently (ca. 65,000 bp). One subspecies is primarily outcrossing, but self-compatible, whereas the other is primarily selfing. The subspecies co-occur in a zone of sympatry but hybrids are rarely observed. Premating barriers resulted in nearly complete isolation in both subspecies with flowering time and pollinator preference (for the outcrosser over the selfer) as the strongest barriers. We found that the outcrosser had consistently more competitive pollen, facilitating hybridization in one direction, but no evidence for pollen-pistil interactions as an isolating barrier. Surprisingly, postzygotic isolation was detected at the stage of hybrid seed development, but in no subsequent life stages. This crossing barrier was asymmetric with crosses from the selfer to outcrosser most frequently failing. Collectively, the results provide evidence for rapid evolution of multiple premating and postzygotic barriers despite a very recent divergence time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2885-2900
Number of pages16
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2014


  • Bateson-Dobzhansky-Müller incompatibility
  • Hybridization
  • Mating system
  • Pollination
  • Self-fertilization
  • Speciation


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