• Female sterility associated with increased clonal propagation suggests a unique combination of androdioecy and asexual reproduction in populations of Cardamine amara (Brassicaceae)

      Tedder, Andrew; Helling, M.; Pannell, J.R.; Shimizu-Inatsugi, R.; Kawagoe, T.; van Campen, J.; Sese, J.; Shimizu, K.K. (2015-04)
      The coexistence of hermaphrodites and female-sterile individuals, or androdioecy, has been documented in only a handful of plants and animals. This study reports its existence in the plant species Cardamine amara (Brassicaceae), in which female-sterile individuals have shorter pistils than seed-producing hermaphrodites. Morphological analysis, in situ manual pollination, microsatellite genotyping and differential gene expression analysis using Arabidopsis microarrays were used to delimit variation between female-sterile individuals and hermaphrodites. Female sterility in C. amara appears to be caused by disrupted ovule development. It was associated with a 2.4- to 2.9-fold increase in clonal propagation. This made the pollen number of female-sterile genets more than double that of hermaphrodite genets, which fulfils a condition of co-existence predicted by simple androdioecy theories. When female-sterile individuals were observed in wild androdioecious populations, their ramet frequencies ranged from 5 to 54 %; however, their genet frequencies ranged from 11 to 29 %, which is consistent with the theoretically predicted upper limit of 50 %. The results suggest that a combination of sexual reproduction and increased asexual proliferation by female-sterile individuals probably explains the invasion and maintenance of female sterility in otherwise hermaphroditic populations. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the coexistence of female sterility and hermaphrodites in the Brassicaceae.