The susceptibility and response of inbred and outbred Mimulus guttatus to infection by Cucumber mosaic virus Academic Article uri icon


  • The deleterious effects of inbreeding have been well documented, but only recently have studies begun to explore the consequences of inbreeding for important ecological interactions. We examined the effects of inbreeding on the interaction between host and pathogen using the mixed-mating Mimulus guttatus (Scrophulariaceae) and Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV). Inbred (self) and outbred M. guttatus from two California populations (M5 and M13) were rub-inoculated with CMV and compared to sham-inoculated controls. Flower production by outbred plants in host population M5 showed little effect of the inoculation treatment, but inoculation reduced flower production of inbred plants by 12%, indicating that inbreeding reduces tolerance to CMV infection. This interaction fell short of significance, however. The effects of inbreeding and CMV inoculation on biomass in M5 varied significantly across the 15 families used in this experiment, indicating genetic variation in the effect of inbreeding on resistance or tolerance to CMV. CMV infection reduced biomass in host population M13, but there were no significant interactions between virus treatment and level of inbreeding for either flower production or biomass. Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to detect CMV in host tissues. In both populations, mean ELISA absorbance values of inoculated plants were nearly identical for self and outcross hosts, indicating equal susceptibility to CMV. In outbred plants of population M5, flower production did not change with increasing ELISA absorbance, but in inbred plants it declined, indicating reduced tolerance to CMV infection. The results from this study suggest that pathogens may become increasingly detrimental as host populations become more inbred.

published proceedings

  • Evolutionary Ecology

author list (cited authors)

  • Carr, D. E., Murphy, J. F., & Eubanks, M. D.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • Carr, David E||Murphy, John F||Eubanks, Micky D

publication date

  • January 2003