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J Evol Biol. 2005 May;18(3):676-82.

Hamilton's rule, imprinting and parent-offspring conflict over seed mass in partially selfing plants.

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Institute of Biology, University of Leiden, PO Box 9516, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands.


When genes in the offspring control the provisioning of the seed, the optimal seed size can be calculated exactly by applying Hamilton's rule. When seed size is a compromise between mother and offspring, we predict that outcrossing plant species produce larger seeds than selfers. This trend was found in the British flora and in a number of well-studied plant families. The analysis was extended to imprinting, a conditional strategy in which a gene in the offspring takes more resources when derived from the father than from the mother. The conditions for imprinting to be selected were rather restrictive. The analysis is relevant for the current debate about the evolution of imprinting in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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