Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 30–36 | Cite as

On sex allocation and selfing in higher plants

  • Eric L. Charnov


Sex allocation (male allocation/female allocation) as a function of selfing rate is studied in the wild riceOryza perennis. Using dry weight measures, the male/female ratio is linearly related to the selfing rate. This linear relationship may have a fairly radical interpretation in terms of current sex allocation theory. It suggests that the intermediate selfing rates are themselves maintained by a form of frequency dependence. In particular, the linearity suggests: (i) the relative fitness of a selfed versus outcrossed offspring decreases with increased selfing; (ii) in equilibrium, a selfed offspring is approximately half as fit as an outcrossed offspring; (iii) the frequency dependence, being the opposite of that proposed in most selfing models, may result from the same forces thought to be involved in the maintenance of sex itself, and (iv) the position of the fitted line contains information about the plant's use of wind pollination for male reproduction. It suggests that wind shows much less mixing of pollen than previously assumed, and/or that there are severe morphological constraints on pollen presentation. The above interpretations are clearly speculative and tentative. Possible problems in the analysis, and some alternatives for data interpretation are discussed.


Plant breeding systems sexual reproduction mixed ESS 


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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall Ltd. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric L. Charnov
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of UtahSalt Lake CityUSA

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