J Plant Ecol ›› 2023, Vol. 16 ›› Issue (6): rtad025.DOI: 10.1093/jpe/rtad025

• Research Article •    

Potential role of kin selection in the transition from vegetative to reproductive allocation in plants

Renfei Chen1,*, Cenxi Shi1, Liang Zhang2, Chengyi Tu3,4,*, Jacob Weiner5   

  1. 1School of Life Science, Shanxi Normal University, Taiyuan 030000, China;
    2State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-Ecosystem, School of Life Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China;
    3School of Economics and Management, Zhejiang Sci-Tech University, Hangzhou 310000, China;
    4Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA;
    5Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen, DK-1871 Frederiksberg, Denmark


Abstract: According to the original optimal reproductive allocation theory, plants should shift from vegetative growth to reproductive allocation abruptly and completely. Some plants do this, and it is also considered a good strategy for crop plants to maximize yield, but most plants shift gradually. Modified versions of the theory predict such a gradual transition from growth to reproduction. We hypothesize that kin selection can also alter the predictions of optimal allocation theory. We investigated the theoretical implications of both positive and negative kin selection on the timing of plant reproductive development using mathematical models. Under reasonable assumptions of costs and benefits, plants under kin selection are more likely to shift from growth to reproduction in an abrupt way when the initial value of the ratio between reproductive and vegetative biomass is high. Supported by empirical observations, our theoretical predictions have important implications in linking life history and energy allocation as well as for improving yields in agriculture.

Key words: inclusive fitness, resource allocation, reproductive structures, vegetative growth, reproductive allocation schedule


关键词: 广义适合度, 资源分配, 繁殖器官, 营养生长, 繁殖分配进程