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Evolution. 2001 Jan;55(1):202-4.

Sex among the flowers: the distribution of plant mating systems.

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Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260, USA.


Previous reviews of plant outcrossing rate survey data have agreed that predominant selfing and predominant outcrossing are alternative stable states of mating system evolution. We reanalyzed the most recent data and plot outcrossing rates as a continuous variable rather than as a class variable. Wind-pollinated species are indeed bimodal. However, the shape of the distributions for animal-pollinated species reveals that intermediate rates of outcrossing are common (49% of species fall between 20% and 80% outcrossing). Consequently, we suggest that mating system is best considered a continuous rather than a discrete character of plant populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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