Evolution by individuals, plant-herbivore interactions, and mosaics of genetic variability

The adaptive significance of somatic mutations in plants

Thomas G Whitham, C. N. Slobodchikoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

156 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Differences in the pattern of organization of organisms may lead to different patterns of evolution, genetics and ecology, Plants and animals differ in their fundamental patterns of organization. Plants consist of a series of repeating units that compete with one another, while animals consist of mutually interdependent systems that cannot compete. As a result, plants may be able to take advantage of somatic mutations in ways that are not available to animals. Somatic mutations arising in plants can be inherited by naturally occurring mechanisms of sexual and asexual reproduction. Long life span, large clone size, and the complete regeneration of buds each year may permit an indivdual plant or clone to evolve. Plants may even develop as mosaics of genetic variation. Evolution by individual plants and/or development as mosaics of genetic variation may prevent herbivores from breaking the defenses of their host plants. This evolution may also result in greater "fine tuning" to local environments leading to ecotypic variation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-292
Number of pages6
JournalOecologia
Volume49
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1981

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plant-herbivore interaction
somatic mutation
mutation
herbivores
genetic variation
clone
clones
plant ecology
animal ecology
asexual reproduction
plant genetics
animal
sexual reproduction
bud
host plant
mosaic
herbivore
animals
host plants
regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

Evolution by individuals, plant-herbivore interactions, and mosaics of genetic variability : The adaptive significance of somatic mutations in plants. / Whitham, Thomas G; Slobodchikoff, C. N.

In: Oecologia, Vol. 49, No. 3, 07.1981, p. 287-292.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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