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Do annual and perennial populations of an insect-pollinated plant species differ in mating system?

Cite this dataset

Bai, Wei-Ning et al. (2021). Do annual and perennial populations of an insect-pollinated plant species differ in mating system? [Dataset]. Dryad.


Background and Aims  Theory predicts that outcrossing should be more prevalent among perennials than annuals, a pattern confirmed by comparative evidence from diverse angiosperm families. However, intraspecific comparisons between annual and perennial populations are few because such variation is uncommon among flowering plants. Here, we test the hypothesis that perennial populations outcross more than annual populations by investigating Incarvillea sinensis, a wide-ranging insect-pollinated herb native to China. The occurrence of both allopatric and sympatric populations allows us to examine the stability of mating system differences between life histories under varying ecological conditions.

Methods   We estimated outcrossing rates and biparental inbreeding in 16 allopatric and five sympatric popula- tions in which both life histories coexisted using 20 microsatellite loci. In each population we measured height, branch number, corolla size, tube length and herkogamy for ~30 individuals. In a sympatric population, we re- corded daily flower number, pollinator visitation and the fruit and seed set of annual and perennial plants.

Key Results  As predicted, outcrossing rates (t) were considerably higher in perennial (mean = 0.76) than annual (mean = 0.09) populations. This difference in mating system was also maintained at sympatric sites where plants grew intermixed. In both allopatric and sympatric populations the degree of herkogamy was consistently larger in outcrossing than selfing plants. Perennials were more branched, with more and larger flowers than in annuals. In a sympatric population, annuals had a significantly higher fruit and seed set than perennials.

Conclusions  Genetically based differences in herkogamy between annuals and perennials appear to play a key role in governing outcrossing rates in populations, regardless of variation in local ecological conditions. The maintenance of mating system and life history trait differentiation between perennial and annual populations of I. sinensis probably results from correlated evolution in response to local environmental conditions.


Morphlogical data is collected from the field and microsatellite data is from 20 loci.

Usage notes



The microsatellite_data.xlsx  contains raw microsatellite data which were used to calculate observed alleles (Na),  observed and expected heterozygosity (Ho and He), inbreeding coefficient (Fis), multilocus outcrossing rate (tm)    and single locus outcrossing rate (ts) of annual and perennial populations.  The microsatellite_data.xlsx contains five sheets, the naming method of sheet is sample site-life history (for example, HL-RA represents that the name of sample site is HL and the color of flower is red and the life history is annual).  Each sheet contains microsatellite data of the same population with different individuals.


The morphology.txt contains vegetative and floral traits of annual and perennial populations of Incarvillea sinensisIn this txt, LifeHist (life history), yearlh (year and life history), yearlhpop (year and life history and population),  Flwcolor (flower color), CorLen (corolla length), CorWid (corolla width), CorTube (corolla tube).


The sample_locations.xlsx  contains life history, longitude and latitude of the sample. The column of sample sites contains different the name of sample sites. In the column of life history, RA represents individual with red flower and annual life history.  YP represents individual with yellow flower and perennial life history.  RP represents individual with red flower and perennial life history.