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    • Keywords


      Polyembryony; brood reduction in plants; parent-offspring conflict; inclusive fitness and genetic models, evolution

    • Abstract


      Polyembryony, referring here to situations where a nucellar embryo is formed along with the zygotic embryo, has different consequences for the fitness of the maternal parent and offspring. We have developed genetic and inclusive fitness models to derive the conditions that permit the evolution of polyembryony under maternal and offspring control. We have also derived expressions for the optimal allocation (evolutionarily stable strategy, ESS) of resources between zygotic and nucellar embryos.

      It is seen that (i) Polyembryony can evolve more easily under maternal control than under that of either the offspring or the ‘selfish’ endosperm. Under maternal regulation, evolution of polyembryony can occur for any clutch size. Under offspring control polyembryony is more likely to evolve for high clutch sizes, and is unlikely for low clutch sizes (<3). This conflict between mother and offspring decreases with increase in clutch size and favours the evolution of polyembryony at high clutch sizes, (ii) Polyembryony can evolve for values of “x” (the power of the function relating fitness to seed resource) greater than 0.5758; the possibility of its occurrence increases with “x”, indicating that a more efficient conversion of resource into fitness favours polyembryony. (iii) Under both maternal parent and offspring control, the evolution of polyembryony becomes increasingly unlikely as the level of inbreeding increases, (iv) The proportion of resources allocated to the nucellar embryo at ESS is always higher than that which maximizes the rate of spread of the allele against a non-polyembryonic allele.

      Finally we argue that polyembryony is a maternal counter strategy to compensate for the loss in her fitness due to brood reduction caused by sibling rivalry. We support this assertion by two empirical evidences: (a) the extent of polyembryony is positively correlated with brood reduction inCitrus, and (b) species exhibiting polyembryony are more often those that frequently exhibit brood reduction.

    • Author Affiliations


      K. N. Ganeshaiah1 R. Uma Shaanker2 N. V. Joshi3

      1. Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, University of Agricultural Sciences G. K. V. K., Bangalore - 560 065, India
      2. Department of Crop Physiology, University of Agricultural Sciences G. K. V. K., Bangalore - 560 065, India
      3. Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore - 560 012, India
    • Dates

  • Journal of Genetics | News

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