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Abstract Detail

Ecological Section

Sinclair, Jordan [1], Freeman, Carl [2].

Incest, Specialization and the Environment: A New Model for the Evolution of Dioecy.

Dioecy has evolved independently in many plant families. This suggests that dioecy is a viable sexual system in circumstances that independently reoccur. Historically, the two selective pressures attributed to this evolution are selfing coupled with inbreeding depression and specialization among the unisexual plants. The proposed model incorporates these factors and expands the concept of inbreeding to include consanguineous matings as well as environmental conditions to predict the circumstances under which dioecy is likely to evolve. When neither inbreeding nor specialization is considered, male and female sterile mutants are quickly eliminated from the population. When selective advantages are given to these mutants they can persist and, if their relative fitness is high enough, they can invade. Both of these results are in accordance with previous predictions. What is novel is our ability to combine the inbreeding and specialization advantages, allowing us to see how the two forces interact and the influence this can have on the evolutionary process. The addition of a heterogeneous environment allows us to examine why dioecious species are often found in stressful environments, and to what extent the environment can influence the evolution from a population of hermaphroditic to unisexual individuals.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Wayne State University, Department of Biological Sciences, Detroit, MI, USA
2 -


Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 34
Location: Portland Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Time: 2:30 PM
Number: 34005
Abstract ID:406

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