March 2013, Volume 67, Issue 1, pp 51-62,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 15 Jan 2013
The Evolution of Fruit Tree Productivity: A Review
- Eliezer E. Goldschmidt
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The Evolution of Fruit Tree Productivity: A Review. Domestication of fruit trees has received far less attention than that of annual crop plants. In particular, very little is known about the evolution of fruit tree productivity. In the wild, most tree species reach reproductive maturity after a long period of juvenility and even then, sexual reproduction appears sporadically, often in a mode of masting. Environmental constraints limit trees’ reproductive activity in their natural, wild habitats, resulting in poor, irregular productivity. Early fructification and regular, high rates of productivity have been selected by people, unconsciously and consciously. The reviewed evidence indicates an evolutionary continuum of productivity patterns among trees of wild habitats, intermediary domesticates, and the most advanced domesticates. Alternate bearing appears to represent an intermediate step in the fruit tree evolutionary pathway. The existence of a molecular, genetic mechanism that controls trees’ sexual reproduction and fruiting pattern is suggested.
Submitted 14 December 2011; Accepted 29 October 2012.
1Dedication -- In loving memory of Professor Elisabeth Goldschmidt, Department of Genetics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
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- The Evolution of Fruit Tree Productivity: A Review
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Volume 67, Issue 1 , pp 51-62
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- Alternate bearing
- sexual reproduction
- unconscious selection
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel