Models allowing the coexistence of females and hermaphrodites in gynodioecious populations assume a simple genetic system of sex determination, a seed fitness advantage of females (compensation), and a negative pleiotropic effect of nuclear sex-determining genes on fitness (cost of restoration). In Lobelia siphilitica, sex is determined by both mitochondrial genes causing cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) and nuclear genes that restore fertility when present with specific CMS haplotypes (nuclear restorers). I tested for a cost of restoration in L. siphilitica by measuring restored hermaphrodites for five fitness components and estimating the number of nuclear restorers by crosses with females carrying CMS1 and CMS2. A cost of restoration appears as a significant negative coefficient (B) in the regression model explaining fitness. I found that hermaphrodites carrying more nuclear restorer genes for CMS2 (or restorer genes of greater effect) have lower pollen viability (B = −1.08, P = 0.001). This pollen viability cost of restoration in L. siphilitica supports the theoretical prediction that negative pleiotropic effects of restorers will exist in populations of gynodioecious species containing females. The existence of such a cost supports the view that gynodioecy can be a stable breeding system in nature.
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Vol. 56 • No. 11