The genetics of sex determination in stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)
Document Type Article
Reprinted from Sexual Plant Reproduction, Vol. 20, Issue 1, December 2006, pp. 35-43. The original publication is available at:http://www.springerlink.com/content/k41576r71181n766/?p=0fc82292abc543829ff7fbbbf633cd34π=0
Urtica dioica (“stinging nettle”) includes both dioecious and monoecious forms. In most sexually dimorphic angiosperm species, the genetic mechanisms of sex determination are completely unknown. The few species that include both monoecious and dioecious forms provide an unusual opportunity to examine the genetic mechanisms that underlie the separation of sexual functions, through crossing experiments and analysis of progeny segregation. Our focus is on the genetic mechanisms distinguishing monoecious and dioecious forms of U. dioica. A complicated picture of sex determination in this species has resulted from crosses between dioecious and monoecious subspecies, as well as between dioecious and monoecious forms of the same subspecies. Most significant is evidence for a maternal influence on sex determination and for the possibility of gynodioecy as an intermediate stage in the evolutionary pathway to dioecy.