Self-pollinating plant shows rapid loss of genetic variation

Without bumble bees, a flowering plant that can self-pollinate lost substantial genetic variation within only nine generations, an experimental study found. A group of ‘selfing’ monkeyflower plants lost 13% to 24% of their genetic variation compared to another group that were propagated by bumble bees. This loss could rob the plants of their ability to adapt to environmental challenges, according to the study. With bee populations on the decline in nature, the findings point to serious issues for wild plants and crops that rely on these pollinators.Without bumble bees, a flowering plant that can self-pollinate lost substantial genetic variation within only nine generations, an experimental study found. A group of ‘selfing’ monkeyflower plants lost 13% to 24% of their genetic variation compared to another group that were propagated by bumble bees. This loss could rob the plants of their ability to adapt to environmental challenges, according to the study. With bee populations on the decline in nature, the findings point to serious issues for wild plants and crops that rely on these pollinators.

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