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.

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 September 19, 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 September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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