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Type: Journal article
Title: Evolutionary aspects of the trade-off between seed size and number in crops
Author: Sadras, V.
Citation: Field Crops Research, 2007; 100(2-3):125-138
Publisher: Elsevier Science BV
Issue Date: 2007
ISSN: 0378-4290
Statement of
Victor O. Sadras
Abstract: Whereas the concept that availability of resources drives seed production is sound in principle, it is incomplete as there are many solutions to the allocation of resources that derive from the trade-off between number and size. This paper examines evolutionary aspects of this trade-off in annual grain crops. The analysis is centred on the working hypotheses that, for a given species and environment, allocation of resources to reproduction involves (H1) high plasticity in seed number, which allows for variable resource availability, and (H2) a relatively narrow range of seed size that results from evolutionary and agronomic selection. Comparisons between crops and fish are used to highlight common evolutionary elements in taxa where parents provide little or no care to their offspring, with the consequence that both number and early survival of offspring, hence fitness of parents, are partially related to embryo size and reserves. The plasticity of seed number in relation to availability of resources is analysed against the established relationship between offspring number and parent growth rate during critical stages. The notion that seed size is under stabilising selection is analysed against three conditions: (1) mean seed size is conservative for a given species and environment, (2) seed size affects fitness, and (3) seed size is heritable. Databases from published papers were compiled to analyse the relative variability of seed size and number, and the heritability of seed size. Evidence for and against the link between seed size and parental fitness is revised using the Smith-Fretwell model as framework (Am. Nat., 108, 499-506). The proposal of high plasticity of seed number and narrow variability of seed size resulting from stabilising natural selection is generally consistent with evolutionary and genetic considerations. Agronomic selection may have reinforced natural selection leading to relatively narrow seed size in species such as wheat and soybean, where cultivated types retained high plasticity for seed number. In contrast, selection for one or few inflorescences in crops like sunflower and maize may have morphologically reduced seed number plasticity and increased variability of seed size and its responsiveness to resource availability in relation to their wild ancestors. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Description: Copyright © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1016/j.fcr.2006.07.004
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Appears in Collections:Agriculture, Food and Wine publications
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