The balance between sexual and asexual reproduction in plants living in variable environments

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Abstract

The balance between sexual and asexual propagule production is studied in an evolutionary model where plants produce the two kinds of propagules in genetically determined proportions. The male function of plants producing asexual propagules can be varied, and the sexual and asexual propagules carry different probabilities to turn into new reproductive individuals. These fitnesses may vary over years. The evolution of the population’s reproductive system is studied assuming modifier alleles with small effects.

In this setting a balanced, mixed reproductive system can evolve, but only if the difference in fitness between the sexual and asexual propagules varies over years. When the two kinds of propagules are very similar to each other, as is often the case with sexual and asexual seed formation, evolution will tend towards a state dominated by the one or the other reproductive system.

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  • Biological Sciences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-422
JournalJournal of evolutionary biology
Volume13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes