Hybrid incompatibility in Arabidopsis is determined by a multiple-locus genetic network

Plant Physiol. 2012 Feb;158(2):801-12. doi: 10.1104/pp.111.188706. Epub 2011 Dec 1.


The cross between Arabidopsis thaliana and the closely related species Arabidopsis arenosa results in postzygotic hybrid incompatibility, manifested as seed death. Ecotypes of A. thaliana were tested for their ability to produce live seed when crossed to A. arenosa. The identified genetic variation was used to map quantitative trait loci (QTLs) encoded by the A. thaliana genome that affect the frequency of postzygotic lethality and the phenotypes of surviving seeds. Seven QTLs affecting the A. thaliana component of this hybrid incompatibility were identified by crossing a Columbia × C24 recombinant inbred line population to diploid A. arenosa pollen donors. Additional epistatic loci were identified based on their pairwise interaction with one or several of these QTLs. Epistatic interactions were detected for all seven QTLs. The two largest additive QTLs were subjected to fine-mapping, indicating the action of at least two genes in each. The topology of this network reveals a large set of minor-effect loci from the maternal genome controlling hybrid growth and viability at different developmental stages. Our study establishes a framework that will enable the identification and characterization of genes and pathways in A. thaliana responsible for hybrid lethality in the A. thaliana × A. arenosa interspecific cross.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / embryology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Epistasis, Genetic
  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Genes, Plant
  • Hybridization, Genetic*
  • Quantitative Trait Loci
  • Seeds