Research Topic

Kin Selection and Kin Cooperation in Plants

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


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 June 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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