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Stresses affect inbreeding depression in complex ways: Disentangling stress-specific genetic effects from effects of initial size in plants

Citation

Sandner, Tobias M.; Matthies, Diethart; Waller, Donald M. (2021), Stresses affect inbreeding depression in complex ways: Disentangling stress-specific genetic effects from effects of initial size in plants, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.vx0k6djrv

Abstract

The magnitude of inbreeding depression (ID) varies unpredictably among environments. ID often increases in stressful environments suggesting that these expose more deleterious alleles to selection or increase their effects. More simply, ID could increase under conditions that amplify phenotypic variation (CV²), e.g. by accentuating size hierarchies among plants. These mechanisms are difficult to distinguish when stress increases both ID and phenotypic variation. We grew in- and outbred progeny of Mimulus guttatus under six abiotic stress treatments (control, waterlogging, drought, nutrient deficiency, copper addition and clipping) with and without competition by the grass Poa palustris. ID differed greatly among stress treatments with δ varying from 7% (control) to 61% (waterlogging) but did not consistently increase with stress intensity. Poa competition increased ID under nutrient deficiency but not other stresses. Analyzing effects of initial size on performance of outbred plants suggests that under some conditions (low N, clipping) competition increased ID by amplifying initial size differences. In other cases (e.g., high ID under waterlogging), particular environments amplified the deleterious genetic effects of inbreeding suggesting differential gene expression. Interestingly, conditions that increased the phenotypic variability of inbred progeny regularly increased ID whereas variability among outbred progeny showed no relationship to ID. Our study reconciles the stress- and phenotypic variability hypotheses by demonstrating how specific conditions (rather than stress per se) act to increase ID. Analyzing CV² separately in inbred and outbred progeny while including effects of initial plant size improve our ability to predict how ID and gene expression vary across environments.

Methods

The dataset contains the results of a greenhouse experiment with inbred and outbred Mimulus guttatus plants grown under different experimental stress treatments, see publication for details.