Carbohydrate metabolism and androdioecy maintenance in Tapiscia sinensis

Fruit ripening overlaps with flowering, leading to a severe reproductive burden on the hermaphroditic individuals.
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Tapiscia sinensis (Tapisciaceae) is a functional androdioecious tree with synchronous growth of flowers and fruits during the reproductive stage, which induces a reproductive resource trade-off between male and female functions in hermaphroditic flowers. Carbohydrates are the basic reproductive resources, and Yang et al. compare the carbohydrate content, gene expression related to carbohydrate metabolism, and carbohydrate transport between male anthers and hermaphroditic anthers.

Comparison of the phenotype and fertility between male flowers and hermaphrodites.
Comparison of the phenotype and fertility between male flowers and hermaphrodites. (A) The phenomenon of synchronous growth of flowers and fruits in hermaphroditic individuals. (D) The inflorescence of male plants (left) and hermaphrodites (right). The pollen grains of male flowers (B) and hermaphrodites (E) were stained by Alexander’s solution. Scanning electron microscopy analysis of pollen grains of male flowers (C) and hermaphrodites (F).

Resource allocation tends to favour female function in hermaphroditic flowers to ensure reproduction, while the hermaphroditic pollen viability is significant lower than the male pollen viability. This guarantees the maintenance of functional androdioecy in T. sinensis.

Reference

Yang, K., Zhou, X., Wang, Y., Feng, H., Ren, X., Liu, H., & Liu, W. (2017). Carbohydrate metabolism and gene regulation during anther development in an androdioecious tree, Tapiscia sinensis. Annals of Botany. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcx094


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