, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 1113–1125 | Cite as

Genomics of sex determination in dioecious trees and woody plants

  • Birgit Kersten
  • Birte Pakull
  • Matthias Fladung


Key message

This review gives a comprehensive overview on the genomics of sex determination in dioecious woody plants and plants with a tree-like habitus, in particular considering species where sex-linked regions and/or markers have been identified.


Dioecious plant species are characterized by unisexual flowers located on separate male or female individuals. While only about 5–6% of angiosperm species are reported to be dioecious, tree species seem to show a higher percentage of dioecy. Generally, it is presumed that various different genetic and developmental mechanisms underlie unisexuality in different dioecious species. This review focusses on the genomics of sex determination in dioecious woody plant species like trees, shrubs and vines as well as other plant species with a tree-like habitus like papaya and the monocot date palm. Findings for different tree species, including Diospyros lotus and members of the Salicaceae family, are summarized including information on sex-linked markers that enable to identify the sex of a tree before the tree reaches sexual maturity.


Diospyros lotus Carica papaya Populus Aspen Salicaceae Sex-linked markers 



We thank Cristina Vettori for sequencing the P. tremuloides BAC clone, as mentioned in the manuscript. Dina Führmann is acknowledged for language editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Thünen Institute of Forest Genetics, Genome ResearchGrosshansdorfGermany

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