Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Evolution of self-fertilization

Date:
November 10, 2010
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
The ability of some plants to self-fertilize has its advantages, especially in areas where there aren't many pollinating insects. But new research suggests that self-fertilization may not always be an evolutionary advantage in and of itself. Rather, it sometimes may evolve because it is linked to physiological traits that help plants deal with seasonal drought.

The ability of some plants to self-fertilize has its advantages, especially in areas where there aren't many pollinating insects. But research by Susan Mazer from U.C. Santa Barbara and colleagues suggests that self-fertilization may not always be an evolutionary advantage in and of itself. Rather, it sometimes may evolve because it is linked to physiological traits that help plants deal with seasonal drought.

Related Articles


The researchers studied four closely related species of Clarkia, which belong to the Evening Primrose family. Two of the species are predominantly self-fertilizing (selfers); the other two are predominantly outcrossing, meaning they fertilize via pollen transfer from plant to plant. The research has found that the selfers have physiological traits (faster photosynthetic rates per area of leaf, for example) that appear to promote a more rapid life cycle. As a result, selfers produce flowers and begin the reproductive process weeks before their outcrossing counterparts, and before the onset of the late spring drought in the plants' native habitat.

In addition to avoiding the periods of most intense drought, the faster life cycle is associated with more rapid floral development and the production of smaller flowers. In those smaller flowers, the male and female sex parts are closer together, increasing the chance that pollen will be transferred to the flower's own stigma -- self-fertilization. These results suggest that in the case of Clarkia, self-fertilization may have evolved partly as a "side-effect" of natural selection for a drought-avoiding life cycle.

The research is published in the November/December issue of the International Journal of Plant Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Susan J. Mazer, Leah S. Dudley, Alisa A. Hove, Simon K. Emms, Amy S. Verhoeven. Physiological Performance in Clarkia Sister Taxa with Contrasting Mating Systems: Do Early-Flowering Autogamous Taxa Avoid Water Stress Relative to Their Pollinator-Dependent Counterparts? International Journal of Plant Sciences, 2010; 171 (9): 1029 DOI: 10.1086/656305

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Evolution of self-fertilization." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101110212919.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2010, November 10). Evolution of self-fertilization. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101110212919.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Evolution of self-fertilization." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101110212919.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins