Hybrid necrosis: autoimmunity as a potential gene-flow barrier in plant species

Nat Rev Genet. 2007 May;8(5):382-93. doi: 10.1038/nrg2082. Epub 2007 Apr 3.


Ecological factors, hybrid sterility and differences in ploidy levels are well known for contributing to gene-flow barriers in plants. Another common postzygotic incompatibility, hybrid necrosis, has received comparatively little attention in the evolutionary genetics literature. Hybrid necrosis is associated with a suite of phenotypic characteristics that are similar to those elicited in response to various environmental stresses, including pathogen attack. The genetic architecture is generally simple, and complies with the Bateson-Dobzhansky-Muller model for hybrid incompatibility between species. We survey the extensive literature on this topic and present the hypothesis that hybrid necrosis can result from autoimmunity, perhaps as a pleiotropic effect of evolution of genes that are involved in pathogen response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity* / genetics
  • Chimera / genetics
  • Chimera / immunology*
  • DNA Virus Infections / immunology
  • Gene Flow*
  • Genes, vpr / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Genetic
  • Necrosis* / genetics
  • Plant Infertility / genetics
  • Plant Tumors / etiology
  • Plants / genetics
  • Plants / immunology*
  • Plasmids / immunology
  • Seeds / genetics
  • Selection, Genetic