The genetic architecture of trait differentiation was evaluated between two ecologically distinct populations of Chamaecrista fasciculata. Individuals from Maryland and Illinois populations were crossed to create 10 types of seed: Maryland and Illinois parents, reciprocal F1 and F2 hybrids, and backcrosses to Maryland and to Illinois on reciprocal F1 hybrids. Reciprocal crosses created hybrid generation seeds with both Maryland and Illinois cytoplasmic backgrounds. Experimental individuals were grown in a common garden near the site of the Maryland population. In the garden, plants from the Illinois population flowered, set fruit, and died earlier than those from Maryland, likely reflecting adaptations to differences in growing season length between the two populations. Although reproductive components at the flower and whole plant level differed between the two populations, reproductive output as measured by fruit and seed production was similar. Cytoplasmic genes had a subtle but pervasive effect on population differentiation; hybrids with Maryland cytoplasm were significantly differentiated from those with Illinois cytoplasm when all characters were evaluated jointly. The nuclear genetic architecture of population differentiation was evaluated with joint scaling tests. Depending on the trait, both additive and nonadditive genetic effects contributed to population differentiation. Intraspecific genetic differentiation in this wild plant species appears to reflect a complex genetic architecture that includes the contribution of additive, dominance, and epistatic components in addition to subtle cytoplasmic effects.
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Vol. 55 • No. 3