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Evidence for inbreeding depression in the tree Robinia pseudoacacia L. (Fabaceae)

Author(s): C.Q. Yuan, Y.F. Li, L. Wang, K.Q. Zhao, R.Y. Hu, P. Sun, Y.H. Sun, Y. Li, W.X. Gu and Z.Y. Zhou

The magnitude of inbreeding depression within populations is important for the evolution and maintenance of mixed mating systems. However, data are sparse on the magnitude of inbreeding depression in Robinia pseudoacacia. In this study, we compared differences in the mature seed set per fruit, seed mass, germination success, and seedling growth between self- and cross-pollination treatments and estimated the inbreeding depression at 3 stages: seed maturation, seedling emergence, and seedling growth at 10 and 20 weeks. We found that progenies resulting from cross-pollination treatments showed significantly higher fitness than progenies resulting from self-pollination, causing high levels of inbreeding depression. Inbreeding depression was not uniformly manifested, however, over the 3 stages.