Frequency-dependent selection is a major force determining the evolutionary dynamics of alleles at the self-incompatibility locus (S-locus) in flowering plants. We introduce a general method using numerical simulations to test several alternative models of frequency-dependent selection on S-locus data from sporophytic systems, taking into account both genetic drift and observed patterns of dominance interactions among S-locus haplotypes (S-haplotypes). Using a molecular typing method, we estimated S-haplotype frequencies in a sample of 322 adult plants and of 245 offspring obtained from seeds sampled on 22 maternal plants, collected in a single population of Arabidopsis halleri (Brassicaceae). We found eight different S-haplotypes and characterized their dominance interactions by controlled pollinations. We then compared the likelihood of different models of frequency-dependent selection: we found that the observed haplotype frequencies and observed frequency changes in one generation best fitted a model with (1) the observed dominance interactions and (2) no pollen limitation. Overall, our population genetic models of frequency-dependent selection, including patterns of dominance interactions among S-haplotypes and genetic drift, can reliably predict polymorphism at the S-locus. We discuss how these approaches allow detecting additional processes influencing the evolutionary dynamics of the S-locus, such as purifying selection on linked loci.
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Vol. 62 • No. 10