Evolution of the Selfing Rate and Resource Allocation Models

Yoh Iwasa

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract First, evolutionary theories of selfing of terrestrial plants are reviewed briefly. The evolution of the selfing rate is controlled mainly by (1) the benefit of enhanced genetic relatedness to seeds and (2) the cost of lowered fitness of selfed offspring (inbreeding depression), being modified by (3) fertility assurance under pollen limitation, (4) reduced performance as pollen donor, (5) reduced expenditure to male function, and (6) lowered genetic recombination. Models of the joint evolution of selfing and inbreeding depression predict either strong outcrossing or predominant selfing. Although wind‐pollinated plants fit the prediction, some animal‐pollinated species have intermediate selfing rates, refuting the theory. Second, three resource allocation models are analyzed, in which an individual plant optimally allocates limited resources to outcrossed seeds, selfed seeds, and to energy reserves for the next year. The first model explains how the number of outcrossed and selfed offspring change with plant size when they differ in dispersal distance. The second model predicts that, in a disturbed habitat, the plant is likely to be annual and to produce both selfed and outcrossed seeds; in contrast, in a stable habitat, the plant tends to be perennial and to abort selfed seeds selectively. Hand pollination may increase seed production for perennials but not for annuals. The third model explains the observed difference between animal and wind pollinated plants in the out‐crossing rate pattern by the difference in the way pollen acquisition increases with investment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
JournalPlant Species Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Plant Science


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