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Stylish lengths: Mate choice in flowers

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The styles of flowers may represent an arena for pollen competition in the race to fertilize ovules. Accordingly, selection should favour a longer ‘race’ to better discriminate among variable pollen by increasing style length. Sampling across a taxonomically diverse range of wild and outcrossed species, we found that the distribution of style lengths within plants were skewed towards longer styles, as predicted. In self-pollinated domesticated species, where discrimination among pollen is less important, we found no such pattern. We conclude that style length is under directional selection towards longer styles as a mechanism for mate choice among pollen of variable quality.

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The work was partly supported by grants from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, and ATREE, Bangalore. Dr Dipanwita Banik, Botanical Survey of India, India, helped with the taxonomic identification of the plants. Thanks are due to Dr KV Ravishankar, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, for providing the seed material of the congeneric species of Lycopersicum.

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Correspondence to R Uma Shaanker.

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[Ramesha BT, Yetish MD, Ravikanth G, Ganeshaiah KN, Ghazoul J and Uma Shaanker R 2011 Stylish lengths: Mate choice in flowers. J. Biosci. 36 XXX–XXX] DOI

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Ramesha, B.T., Yetish, M.D., Ravikanth, G. et al. Stylish lengths: Mate choice in flowers. J Biosci 36, 229–234 (2011).

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