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Sexual selection in plants: testing new ideas on the perception of the mating environment and on the mate choice physiology

Sexual selection in plants: testing new ideas on the perception of the mating environment and on the mate choice physiology

Objective

Sexual selection has been extensively studied in the animal kingdom but much less so in plants. Nevertheless, increasing evidences suggest that sexual selection has played an important role in shaping plant reproductive strategies. Besides the strong paucity of study on plant sexual selection, the field has mostly focused on male-male competition occurring during the phase of pollen dispersal. We are especially ignorant of whether plants have evolved the ability to filter mating partners based on their pollen grain characteristics during the post-pollination phase of the life-cycle, resembling a female choice. It is equally unknown whether plants have evolved some ability to perceive their reproductive opportunities and plastically adjust their vegetative and reproductive morphologies as to maximize their chances to access mates. The PERCEPSION project uses a multi-disciplinary approach combining experimental evolution, paternity analyses and physiological analyses to study aspects of plant perception and filtering of mating partners. PERCEPSION aims at (1) quantifying the variation between females in their style physiology during the post-pollination phase and relate it with the number of mates and with the performance of pollen grains of their partners; (2) evaluating through experimental evolution both the evolution of style morphology and physiology linked to their ability to filter pollen grains and the evolution of pollen grain performance in situations of monoandry vs. polyandry; (3) testing empirically whether plant-plant communication allows plants to perceive their mating opportunities and the genetic diversity of their mates and plastically adjust their reproductive strategy to maximize their chances to mate and (4) evaluating empirically whether mechanisms such as the production of airborne volative compounds or below-ground signals could be involved in plant-plant communication in relation to mate partner perception.
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Coordinator

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS

Address

Rue Michel Ange 3
75794 Paris

France

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 196 707,84

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 844321

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 July 2019

  • End date

    30 June 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 196 707,84

  • EU contribution

    € 196 707,84

Coordinated by:

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS

France