A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Recombination in Plants

  • Otto T. Solbrig


the diversity of breeding systems in plants was discovered and documented in the eighteenth and, principally, the nineteenth centuries (Darwin, 1876; 1888; Knuth, 1906–9). A comprehensive theory on breeding systems, however, was not available until C. D. Darlington’s treatise, The Evolution of Genetic Systems, was published in 1939. In the period since this publication, a number of concepts have been clarified or developed, such as the identification and definition of the genetic system (Darlington, 1939; Stebbins, 1950); the adaptive nature of different genetic systems (Stebbins, 1958; Grant, 1958); the correlations between a species recombination system, its life-history parameters, and the environment it occupies (Stebbins, 1950, 1957; Grant, 1958, 1975); and the hypothesis that the genetic system operates so as to strike an “optimal balance between constancy and variability in reproduction” (Grant, 1958).


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© Columbia University Press 1979

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  • Otto T. Solbrig

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