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Influences of clonality on plant sexual reproduction.

Abstract

Flowering plants possess an unrivaled diversity of mechanisms for achieving sexual and asexual reproduction, often simultaneously. The commonest type of asexual reproduction is clonal growth (vegetative propagation) in which parental genotypes (genets) produce vegetative modules (ramets) that are capable of independent growth, reproduction, and often dispersal. Clonal growth leads to an expansion in the size of genets and increased fitness because large floral displays increase fertility and opportunities for outcrossing. Moreover, the clonal dispersal of vegetative propagules can assist "mate finding," particularly in aquatic plants. However, there are ecological circumstances in which functional antagonism between sexual and asexual reproductive modes can negatively affect the fitness of clonal plants. Populations of heterostylous and dioecious species have a small number of mating groups (two or three), which should occur at equal frequency in equilibrium populations. Extensive clonal growth and vegetative dispersal can disrupt the functioning of these sexual polymorphisms, resulting in biased morph ratios and populations with a single mating group, with consequences for fertility and mating. In populations in which clonal propagation predominates, mutations reducing fertility may lead to sexual dysfunction and even the loss of sex. Recent evidence suggests that somatic mutations can play a significant role in influencing fitness in clonal plants and may also help explain the occurrence of genetic diversity in sterile clonal populations. Highly polymorphic genetic markers offer outstanding opportunities for gaining novel insights into functional interactions between sexual and clonal reproduction in flowering plants.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 3B2 spencer.barrett@utoronto.ca.

    Source

    MeSH

    Biodiversity
    Clone Cells
    Genetic Variation
    Mutation
    Plant Infertility
    Plant Physiological Phenomena
    Reproduction

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    26195747

    Citation

    TY - JOUR T1 - Influences of clonality on plant sexual reproduction. A1 - Barrett,Spencer C H, Y1 - 2015/07/20/ PY - 2015/7/20/aheadofprint PY - 2015/7/22/entrez PY - 2015/7/22/pubmed PY - 2015/7/22/medline KW - clonal growth KW - dioecy KW - geitonogamy KW - heterostyly KW - somatic mutations SP - 8859 EP - 66 JF - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America JO - Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. VL - 112 IS - 29 N2 - Flowering plants possess an unrivaled diversity of mechanisms for achieving sexual and asexual reproduction, often simultaneously. The commonest type of asexual reproduction is clonal growth (vegetative propagation) in which parental genotypes (genets) produce vegetative modules (ramets) that are capable of independent growth, reproduction, and often dispersal. Clonal growth leads to an expansion in the size of genets and increased fitness because large floral displays increase fertility and opportunities for outcrossing. Moreover, the clonal dispersal of vegetative propagules can assist "mate finding," particularly in aquatic plants. However, there are ecological circumstances in which functional antagonism between sexual and asexual reproductive modes can negatively affect the fitness of clonal plants. Populations of heterostylous and dioecious species have a small number of mating groups (two or three), which should occur at equal frequency in equilibrium populations. Extensive clonal growth and vegetative dispersal can disrupt the functioning of these sexual polymorphisms, resulting in biased morph ratios and populations with a single mating group, with consequences for fertility and mating. In populations in which clonal propagation predominates, mutations reducing fertility may lead to sexual dysfunction and even the loss of sex. Recent evidence suggests that somatic mutations can play a significant role in influencing fitness in clonal plants and may also help explain the occurrence of genetic diversity in sterile clonal populations. Highly polymorphic genetic markers offer outstanding opportunities for gaining novel insights into functional interactions between sexual and clonal reproduction in flowering plants. SN - 1091-6490 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/26195747/Influences_of_clonality_on_plant_sexual_reproduction_ L2 - http://www.pnas.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=26195747 ER -