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Locally relevant conditions, such as water stress in irrigated agricultural regions, should be considered when assessing the risk of crop allele introgression into wild populations following hybridization. Although research in cultivars has suggested that domestication traits may reduce fecundity under water stress as compared to wild-like phenotypes, this has not been investigated in crop-wild hybrids. In this study, we examine phenotypic selection acting on, as well as the genetic architecture of vegetative, reproductive, and physiological characteristics in an experimental population of sunflower crop-wild hybrids grown under wild-like low water conditions. Crop-derived petiole length and head diameter were favored in low and control water environments. The direction of selection differed between environments for leaf size and leaf pressure potential. Interestingly, the additive effect of the crop-derived allele was in the direction favored by selection for approximately half the QTL detected in the low water environment. Selection favoring crop-derived traits and alleles in the low water environment suggests that a subset of these alleles would be likely to spread into wild populations under water stress. Furthermore, differences in selection between environments support the view that risk assessments should be conducted under multiple locally relevant conditions.
Owart BR, Corbi J, Burke JM, Dechaine JM (2014) Selection on Crop-Derived Traits and QTL in Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) Crop-Wild Hybrids under Water Stress. PLoS ONE 9(7): e102717. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102717
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© 2014 Owart et al.