Fluctuating asymmetry in Scabiosa canescens and Scabiosa columbaria: Association with genetic variation and population size
International Journal of Plant Sciences: 2002 163:329-334
Developmental instability and fluctuating asymmetry (FA) have become important topics in evolutionary biology. For example, it has been suggested that FA could be a useful tool for identification of genetic and environmental stress factors. This study used plants from each of six populations of Scabiosa canescens and Scabiosa columbaria grown under greenhouse conditions. I tested whether there was a relationship between petal FA and allozyme heterozygosity, the heritabilities of eight traits, and population size. Flowers displayed no directional asymmetry or antisymmetry. The rare species S. canescens had significantly higher FA values than S. columbaria, but only the latter demonstrated interpopulation differentiation for the expression of FA levels. There was no evidence for an association between population-level FA and genetic variation when compared with the allozyme heterozygosity or with the heritabilities of the quantitative traits. A tendency for a negative association between FA and population size was found for both species, but it was not significant when adjusted for multiple comparison. Hence, flower FA should not be considered a reliable indicator of the amount of genetic variation in populations of S. canescens and S. columbaria.
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