About this Research Topic
Charles Darwin was the first to describe the concept of kin selection in terms of the loss of fitness by individuals, if such a loss increases the fitness of their relatives. It was, however, Maynard Smith who first formally introduced the term. Hamilton popularized the concept and was the first to apply it to plants. Although kin selection can be invoked to explain a number of traits in plants, Hamilton focused on seed dormancy and seed number per ovule as possible mechanisms to increase cooperation and reduce conflict among relatives. Even though kin selection in plants has a long history and explains the evolution of a number of traits, ranging from flower size, ovule number, seed dormancy, and seed establishment, a synthesis of major trends and the underlying processes is lacking.
Thus, the goal of this Research Topic is to review recent research in the evolution of floral traits, seed development and seedling establishment to identify: a) common elements of the underlying theory of kin selection in plants, b) genetic mechanisms for the operation of selection, c) key concepts of kin recognition and communication, and d) future lines of research. Leading researchers in the area will be brought together to present their work in a symposium to be held in Boston on October 25 and 26. Based on these presentations and ensuing discussions, the researchers will be asked to prepare manuscripts in three broad areas: a) evolution of reproductive traits in plants, b) evolution of seed development, and c) plant communication.
Keywords: Kin Selection, Kin Cooperation, Plant Communication, Pollinators, Plant Reproductive Traits
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