Sibling rivalry between seeds within a fruit: Some population genetic models
Competition between seeds within a fruit for parental resources is described using one-locus-two-allele models. While a “normal” allele leads to an equitable distribution of resources between seeds (a situation which also corresponds to the parental optimum), the “selfish” allele is assumed to cause the seed carrying it to usurp a higher proportion of the resources. The outcome of competition between “selfish” alleles is also assumed to lead to an asymmetric distribution of resources, the “winner” being chosen randomly. Conditions for the spread of an initially rare selfish allele and the optimal resource allocation corresponding to the evolutionarily stable strategy, derived for species with n-seeded fruits, are in accordance with expectations based on Hamilton’s inclusive fitness criteria. Competition between seeds is seen to be most intense when there are only two seeds, and decreases with increasing number of seeds, suggesting that two-seeded fruits would be rarer than one-seeded or many-seeded ones. Available data from a large number of plant species are consistent with this prediction of the model.
Volume 100, 2021
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