The Limits on Sexual Dimorphism in Vegetative Traits in a Gynodioecious Plant

2005 American Naturalist  
Gynodioecious plants exhibit modest sexual dimorphism in vegetative and phenological traits, which stands in stark contrast to pronounced dimorphism in reproductive traits. I evaluate the roles of limited genetic variation, negative genetic covariation (within and between sex morphs), and lack of gender-differential selection in contributing to minimal sexual dimorphism for these traits in Fragaria virginiana. Major findings are as follows. First, selection was sometimes differential but rarely
more » ... divergent between male and female fertility modes. Second, response to selection was constrained by low genetic variation and extensive genetic covariance. In fact, covariance between traits within sex morphs appears to represent a constraint on par with that of covariance between sex morphs. Third, these constraints combine with different modes of gamete transmission to produce very different gender-specific contributions to the mean phenotypes of the next generation. Finally, predicted responses to selection for several traits are concordant with the degree and direction of dimorphism in a closely related dioecious species. In sum, this work suggests that minimal sexual dimorphism in vegetative and phenological traits is due to similar directional selection via male and female fertility combined with the constraints of low genetic variation and extensive genetic covariance both within and between sex morphs.
doi:10.2307/3473063 pmid:16224712 fatcat:zybbqrxntnhr5jd6hesazklwfi