Long-term persistence of crop alleles in weedy populations of wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum)

TitleLong-term persistence of crop alleles in weedy populations of wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsSnow AA, Culley TM, Campbell LG, Sweeney PM, Hegde S.G, Ellstrand N.C
JournalNew Phytologist
Pagination537 - 548
Date Published04/2010

Hybridization allows transgenes and other crop alleles to spread to wild ⁄ weedy populations of related taxa. Researchers have debated whether such alleles will persist because low hybrid fitness and linkage to domestication traits could severely impede introgression. To examine variation in the fates of three unlinked crop alleles, we monitored four experimental, self-seeding, hybrid populations of Raphanus raphanistrum x Raphanus sativus (radish) in Michigan, USA, over a decade. We also compared the fecundity of advanced-generation hybrid plants with wild plants in a common garden experiment. Initially, F1 hybrids had reduced fitness, but the populations quickly evolved wild-type pollen fertility. In Year 10, the fecundity of plants from the experimental populations was similar to that of wild genotypes. Crop-specific alleles at the three loci persisted for 10 yr in all populations, and their frequencies varied among loci, populations and years. This research provides a unique case study of substantial variation in the rates and patterns of crop allele introgression after a single hybridization event. Our findings demonstrate that certain crop alleles can introgress easily while others remain rare, supporting the assumption that neutral or beneficial transgenes that are not linked to maladaptive traits can persist in the wild.