Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Plant Mating Styles Influence Defense Evolution

Published: Friday, February 22, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013
Bookmark and Share
When it comes to mating, plants do it in many ways.

On one end of the spectrum, there are plants that self-fertilize or mate with relatives (inbreeders); on the other are plants that mate with nonrelatives (outcrossers). The two types of mating styles have evolved very different defense strategies, Cornell researchers have found.

Inbreeders' defense systems become activated only after their leaves have been eaten or damaged. Outcrossing species, on the other hand, have defense systems that are always turned on.

The study of 56 species of nightshade was published online Feb. 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"The question of how inbreeding and outcrossing mating systems should influence the evolution of defenses has never been answered before at such a broad scale," said Stuart Campbell, the paper's lead author and a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of study co-author André Kessler, Cornell associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

One implication of the defense system that activates only when needed, as with inbreeders, is that these plants have advantages for colonizing new areas.

"There is an association between the dispersal or invasiveness of a species and self-fertilization," said Campbell.

Plants that self-fertilize or inbreed do not require large populations to reproduce and colonize new areas. At the same time, if a plant species moves to a new area, it likely leaves behind many of its enemies. Without the constant threat of those enemies, inbreeders can save energy that might have gone to defense by employing a system that turns on only after being eaten. For example, some plants form a toxic chemical when their leaves get damaged.

Meanwhile, outcrossers that depend on larger populations to reproduce may have an evolutionary advantage by maintaining constant chemical and structural (i.e., thorns, thick hairs) defense systems against enemies that are drawn to the crowds of plants.

In the nightshade family of up to 4,000 species, the common ancestor was an outcrossing species, though the shift to inbreeding has independently occurred within the family more than 60 times in the course of evolution. The researchers examined the defenses of more than 50 wild species of nightshade (Solanaceae) including wild tobacco, pepper, tomato and potato species.

Campbell and Kessler identified 25 pairs of plants where each pair represented a species that had independently evolved an inbreeding reproductive strategy and an outcrossing relative. These pairings were set up with controls and experimental plants.

The pairs of experimental plants were exposed to tobacco hornworm caterpillars (Manduca sexta) that prefer to feed on nightshade. After 20 percent of each plant was eaten, leaves were removed both from controls and the experimental plants. The researchers found that on the undamaged control plants, caterpillars weighed less or died more often on outcrossing species. Caterpillars also performed poorly when they ate leaves from plants that had previously been eaten. But this induced effect was dramatically greater for inbreeding plants.

"We had known that the sex lives of plants can influence herbivores, but this is the first study to look across the evolutionary history of a plant family and examine the consequences of mating systems for defense evolution," Campbell said.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

$1M NIH Grant to Refine PCR Based Cancer Test
Researchers at Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medicine, the University of California, San Francisco, and the Infectious Diseases Institute in Kampala, Uganda, recieve a four-year, $1 million grant to hone technology for a quick, in-the-field diagnosis of Kaposi's sarcoma — a cancer frequently related to HIV infections.
Friday, September 02, 2016
Vortex Ring Freezing Applications
Accidental lab discovery could aid cell delivery and cell-free protein production.
Monday, August 22, 2016
Measuring Chemistry on a Chip
Researchers developing chemical sensor chip for sample analysis in a lab or monitoring air and water quality in the field.
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Key to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is in Your Gut, Not Head
Researchers report they have identified biological markers of the disease in gut bacteria and inflammatory microbial agents in the blood.
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Pathogen Takes Control of Gypsy Moth Populations
A new fungal pathogen is killing gypsy moth caterpillars and crowding out communities of pathogens and parasites that previously destroyed these moth pests.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Eating Green Could be in Your Genes
Genetic variation uncovered that has evolved in populations that have historically favored vegetarian diets, such as in India, Africa and parts of East Asia.
Friday, April 01, 2016
$4.8M USAID Grant to Improve Food Security
To strengthen capacity to develop and disseminate genetically engineered eggplant in Bangladesh and the Philippines, the USAID has awarded Cornell a $4.8 million, three-year cooperative grant.
Friday, April 01, 2016
Proteins Seek, Attack, Destroy Tumor Cells in Bloodstream
Using white blood cells to ferry potent cancer-killing proteins through the bloodstream virtually eliminates metastatic prostate cancer in mice, Cornell researchers have confirmed.
Friday, January 15, 2016
Tumor-suppressing Gene Lends Insight to Cancer Treatment
Researchers have found that delicate replication process derails if a gene named PTEN has mutated or is absent.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Synthetic Immune Organ Produces Antibodies
Cornell engineers have created a functional, synthetic immune organ that produces antibodies and can be controlled in the lab, completely separate from a living organism.
Friday, June 12, 2015
On Planes, Savory Tomato Becomes Favored Flavor
Study shows the effect that airplane noise has on passengers' taste preferences.
Friday, May 15, 2015
$5.5M NSF Grant Aims to Improve Rice Crops with Genome Editing
Researchers to precisely target, cut, remove and replace DNA in a living cell to improve rice.
Friday, May 08, 2015
'Shield' Gives Tricky Proteins a New Identity
Solubilization of Integral Membrane Proteins with high Levels of Expression.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
DNA Safeguard May Be Key In Cancer Treatment
Cornell researchers have developed a new technique to understand the actions of key proteins required for cancer cells to proliferate.
Monday, March 09, 2015
A ‘STAR’ is Born: Engineers Devise Genetic 'On' Switch
A new “on” switch to control gene expression has been developed by Cornell scientists.
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Scientific News
Point of Care Diagnostics - A Cautious Revolution
Advances in molecular biology, coupled with the miniaturization and improved sensitivity of assays and devices in general, have enabled a new wave of point-of-care (POC) or “bedside” diagnostics.
Mass Spec Technology Drives Innovation Across the Biopharma Workflow
With greater resolving power, analytical speed, and accuracy, new mass spectrometry technology and techniques are infiltrating the biopharmaceuticals workflow.
One Step Closer to Precision Medicine for Chronic Lung Disease Sufferers
A study led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and National Jewish Health, has provided evidence of links between SNPs and known COPD blood protein biomarkers.
Blood Pressure Drug May Boost Effectiveness of Lung Cancer Treatment
Researchers at Imperial College London have suggested that the blood pressure drug may make a type of lung cancer treatment more effective.
Insight into Eye Diseases
Scientists recreate zebrafish cell regeneration from retinal stem cells in mice.
New Discovery May Benefit Farmers Worldwide
Scientists have shown how a crop-microbe 'team' protect against fungal infection.
Antibodies Paving the Way to HIV Vaccine
Researchers uncover factors responsible for the formation of broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies in humans.
Designing Drugs with a Whole New Toolbox
Researchers develop methods to design small, targeted proteins with shapes not found in nature.
Protein Studies Discover Molecular Secrets
Two protein studies have mapped proteins that reveal the secrets to recycling carbon and healing cells.
Tapping Evolution to Improve Biotech Products
Researchers show how 'ancestral sequence reconstruction' can be used to guide engineering of a blood clotting protein.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!