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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

Using theories of sexual selection and sexual conflict to improve our understanding of plant ecology and evolution

Lankinen, Åsa; Karlsson Green, Kristina


Today it is accepted that the theories of sexual selection and sexual conflict are general and can be applied to both animals and plants. However, potentially due to a controversial history, plant studies investigating sexual selection and sexual conflict are relatively rare. Moreover, these theories and concepts are seldom implemented in research fields investigating related aspects of plant ecology and evolution. Even though these theories are complex, and can be difficult to study, we suggest that several fields in plant biology would benefit from incorporating and testing the impact of selection pressures generated by sexual selection and sexual conflict. Here we give examples of three fields where we believe such incorporation would be particularly fruitful, including (i) mechanisms of pollen-pistil interactions, (ii) mating-system evolution in hermaphrodites and (iii) plant immune responses to pests and pathogens.


Mating-system evolution; plant immunity; pollen competition; pollen-pistil interaction; sexual conflict; sexual selection

Published in

2015, Volume: 7, article number: plv008