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The mode of inheritance of the male sterility trait is crucial for understanding the evolutionary dynamics of the sexual system gynodioecy, which is the co-occurrence of female and hermaphrodite plants in natural populations. Both cytoplasmic (CMS) and nuclear (restorer) genes are known to be involved. Theoretical models usually assume a limited number of CMS genes with each a single restorer gene, while reality is more complex. In this study, it is shown that in the gynodioecious species Plantago coronopus two new CMS-restorer polymorphisms exist in addition to the two that were already known, which means four CMS-restorer systems at the species level. Furthermore, three CMS types were shown to co-occur within a single population. All new CMS types showed a multilocus system for male fertility restoration, in which both recessive and dominant restorer alleles occur. Our finding of more than two co-occurring CMS-restorer systems each with multiple restorer genes raises the question how this complex of male sterility systems is maintained in natural populations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-181
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004

ID: 95885