Genetic factors predict hybrid formation in the British flora

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  • Max R. Brown
  • Peter M. Hollingsworth
  • Laura L. Forrest
  • Michelle L. Hart
  • Ilia J. Leitch
  • Laura Jones
  • Col Ford
  • de Vere, Natasha Louise
  • Alex D. Twyford

Natural hybridization can have a profound evolutionary impact, with consequences ranging from the extinction of rare taxa to the origin of new species. Natural hybridization is particularly common in plants; however, our understanding of the general factors that promote or prevent hybridization is hampered by the highly variable outcomes in different lineages. Here, we quantify the influence of different predictors on hybrid formation across species from an entire flora. We combine estimates of hybridization with ecological attributes and a new species-level phylogeny for over 1,100 UK flowering plant species. Our results show that genetic factors, particularly parental genetic distance, as well as phylogenetic position and ploidy, are key determinants of hybrid formation, whereas many other factors such as range overlap and genus size explain much less variation in hybrid formation. Overall, intrinsic genetic factors shape the evolutionary and ecological consequences of natural hybridization across species in a flora.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2220261120
Issue number16
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2023

    Research areas

  • DNA barcoding, floristic, genetic distance, hybrid

ID: 344436162