Differential selection on pollen and pistil traits in relation to pollen competition in the context of a sexual conflict over timing of stigma receptivity

Collinsia heterophylla. Photograph: Å. Lankinen.

Sexual conflict and its evolutionary consequences are understudied in plants, but the theory of sexual conflict may help explain how selection generates and maintains variability in both plants and animals. In a recent study published in AoB PLANTS, Lankinen and Strandh show that pollen and pistil traits involved in a sexual conflict over timing of stigma receptivity in the mixed-mating annual Collinsia heterophylla (Plantaginaceae) are differentially advantageous during pollen competition depending on stage of floral development and varying pollen deposition schedules. Variation in success of these traits over floral development time may result from sexually antagonistic selection.

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