Joined: May 2006
I knew lots of examples of allelopathic chemicals in plants, that work to reduce the growth, or just plain kill, non conspecifics, but surprisingly had never heard anything about kin selection in plants before.
unfortunately, I don't understand why the paper chose to twist the story and focus on this quote from Dudley:
|Gardeners have known for a long time that some pairs of species get along better than others, and scientists are starting to catch up with why that happens,"|
scientists have known for decades why THAT happens.
that plants can recognize KIN is an entirely different animal (pardon the pun).
My guess is that the story writers thought it more entertaining to write it like that for their "readers", and thought the whole "dinner party" analogy was somehow clever.
anywho, the point is it very much surpises me that such a simple experiment looking at Kin Selection in plants had never been tried before.
one of those "Doh!" moments, when you slap yourself in the head and say:
Why didn't I think of that?
I'll go farther than the article does and predict that as more studies are conducted, we will find that Kin selection is more common in plants with small scale seed distribution mechanisms.
IOW, plants that drop few large seeds, or don't have a lot of distance between parent and seedlings, will tend to exhibit this behavior more often than plants that rely on wind for seed distribution of many small seeds.
pretty basic prediction, really. the less competition likely between parent and offspring, the less likely to develop a need for recognizing kin.
seriously, this is shocking to me that this is the first mention of kin selection in plants.
are there any botanists hanging around these parts that might shed a clearer light on this?
"And the sea will grant each man new hope..."