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The incidence and selection of multiple mating in plants.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
Mating with more than one pollen donor, or polyandry, is common in land plants. In flowering plants, polyandry occurs when the pollen from different potential sires is distributed among the fruits of a single individual, or when pollen from more than one donor is deposited on the same stigma. Because polyandry typically leads to multiple paternity among or within fruits, it can be indirectly inferred on the basis of paternity analysis using molecular markers. A review of the literature indicates that polyandry is probably ubiquitous in plants except those that habitually self-fertilize, or that disperse their pollen in pollen packages, such as polyads or pollinia. Multiple mating may increase plants' female component by alleviating pollen limitation or by promoting competition among pollen grains from different potential sires. Accordingly, a number of traits have evolved that should promote polyandry at the flower level from the female's point of view, e.g. the prolongation of stigma receptivity or increases in stigma size. However, many floral traits, such as attractiveness, the physical manipulation of pollinators and pollen-dispensing mechanisms that lead to polyandrous pollination, have probably evolved in response to selection to promote male siring success in general, so that polyandry might often best be seen as a by-product of selection to enhance outcross siring success. In this sense, polyandry in plants is similar to geitonogamy (selfing caused by pollen transfer among flowers of the same plant), because both polyandry and geitonogamy probably result from selection to promote outcross siring success, although geitonogamy is almost always deleterious while polyandry in plants will seldom be so.
multiple paternity, pollen competition, polyandry, pollen dispersal, pollination, plant-pollinator interaction
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