Differential seed maturation uncouples fertilization and siring success in Oenothera organensis (Onagraceae)

Kayri Havens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


This study examines ovule fertilization and seed maturation success in an evening primrose, Oenothera organensis, using transgenic plants. The reproductive success of several pollen donors was compared using individuals transformed with the GUS (β-glucuronidase) marker gene which allowed the genotype of developing ovules to be determined prior to seed abortion. This marker gene allowed us to discriminate between a pollen donor's success in fertilizing ovules and its success in siring seeds. Transformed plants had decreased microgametophytic vigour, as evidenced by lower than expected fertilization success in vivo and slower pollen tube growth rates in vitro. However, transformation had no apparent effect on offspring sporophytic vigour, including seed mass, seedling emergence and dry weight. This illustrates the effectiveness of fertilization competition in screening out poorly functioning haploid genomes as suggested by Mulcahy (1979). We found significant differences between the percentage of ovules fertilized and the percentage of seeds sired by a pollen donor in four of eight cases. Hence, fertilization success does not always predict seed paternity. The proportion of seeds sired by the transformed donor with very low fertilization success increased, whereas the proportion sired by the donor with relatively high fertilization success was reduced. This resulted in nearly equal siring ability for the two donors in spite of their difference in fertilization ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-632
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


  • Fertilization success
  • Gametophytic selection
  • Paternity analysis
  • Seed abortion
  • Seed maturation
  • Sporophytic vigour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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