Studying the genetic basis of masting

Akiko Satake, Dave Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanisms underlying mast seeding have traditionally been studied by collecting long-term observational data on seed crops and correlating seedfall with environmental variables. Significant progress in ecological genomics will improve our understanding of the evolution of masting by clarifying the genetic basis of masting traits and the role of natural selection in shaping those traits. Here, we summarize three important aspects in studying the evolution of masting at the genetic level: which traits govern masting, whether those traits are genetically regulated, and which taxa show wide variation in these traits. We then introduce recent studies on the molecular mechanisms of masting. Those studies measure seasonal changes in gene expression in natural conditions to quantify how multiple environmental factors combine to regulate floral initiation, which in many masting plant species is the single largest contributor to among-year variation in seed crops. We show that Fagaceae offers exceptional opportunities for evolutionary investigations because of its diversity at both the phenotypic and genetic levels and existing documented genome sequences. This article is part of the theme issue 'The ecology and evolution of synchronized seed production in plants'.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20210116
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1839
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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