Kin recognition, multilevel selection and altruism in crop sustainability

  title={Kin recognition, multilevel selection and altruism in crop sustainability},
  author={Guillermo P Murphy and Clarence J. Swanton and Rene C. van Acker and Susan A. Dudley},
  journal={Journal of Ecology},
Intraspecific competition among crop plants is undesirable. Less competitive crops are predicted to increase yield and decrease the need for added resources. Wild plants demonstrate the ability to recognize kin and potentially help their relatives by reducing their competitive behaviours, a form of altruism. Altruism can also evolve through multilevel selection. Are these processes relevant to sustainable agriculture? Crops do grow predictably with kin. However, their evolution is more strongly… 

Kin selection theory and the design of cooperative crops

An overview of modern kin selection theory is given and it is suggested that Hamiltonian agriculture—a kin selection view of agriculture and plant breeding—transforms the understanding of how to improve crops of the future.

Farming plant cooperation in crops

A theoretical framework is developed to investigate the evolution of cooperation-related traits in crops, using plant height as a case study and shows that combining high plant density, high relatedness and selection among groups favours the development of shorter plants that maximize grain yield.

Detect thy family: Mechanisms, ecology and agricultural aspects of kin recognition in plants

There is sufficient evidence to state that kin recognition exists in plants, and as kin selection may result in less competitive traits and thus greater population performance, it holds potential promise for crop breeding.

Preferential helping to relatives: A potential mechanism responsible for lower yield of crop variety mixtures?

Phenotypic plasticity in height was very limited in response to neighbor genotypes, suggesting that human selection in crops may have attenuated shade‐avoidance responses to competition for light.

Shift in beneficial interactions during crop evolution

It is shown that a combination of factors has impacted either directly or indirectly plant–plant interactions during domestication and breeding, with a trend toward reduced benefits arising from niche partitioning and facilitation.

Increasing plant group productivity through latent genetic variation for cooperation

The method is based on the game-theoretical premise that alleles increasing cooperation incur a cost to the individual but benefit the monoculture group and finds a major effect locus where the rarer allele was associated with increased cooperation and productivity in high-density stands.

Symmetric response to competition in binary mixtures of cultivars associates with genetic gain in wheat yield

Genetic and agronomic manipulation of the crop phenotype to reduce competitive ability could further improve wheat yield to meet the challenge of global food security.

Evolutionary and ecological perspectives on the wheat phenotype

  • V. Sadras
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B
  • 2021
The tight association between high yield and low competitive ability justifies the view of crop yield as a population attribute whereby the behaviour of the plant becomes subordinated within that of the population, with implications for genotyping, phenotyping and plant breeding.

The effects of genetic distance, nutrient conditions, and recognition ways on outcomes of kin recognition in Glechoma longituba

Kin recognition can help plants mitigate the effects of nutrient shortage, with potential implications in agricultural research and provides new insights on the potential for manipulating the outcome of kin recognition by altering neighbor genetic distance, nutrient conditions and recognition ways.



Evolutionary Agroecology: the potential for cooperative, high density, weed-suppressing cereals

It is argued that it should be possible to develop high density cereals that can utilize their initial size advantage over weeds to suppress them much better than under current practices, thus reducing or eliminating the need for chemical or mechanical weed control.

Kin recognition and competition in plants

There are empirical challenges in identifying the competitive value of traits that are measured destructively, such as root allocation, and if these challenges can be addressed, kin recognition responses can offer new insights into plant competition.

Kin recognition affects plant communication and defence

The results indicate that plants can respond differently to cues from kin, making it less likely that emitters will aid strangers and making it more likely that receivers will respond to cues to relatives.

Fitness consequences of plants growing with siblings: reconciling kin selection, niche partitioning and competitive ability

It is proposed that these processes can be reconciled and argue for a trait-based approach of measuring natural selection instead of the fitness- based approach to the study of sibling competition.

Kin recognition: Competition and cooperation in Impatiens (Balsaminaceae).

Several traits responded to relatedness in shared pots, including increased leaf to root allocation with strangers and increased stem elongation and branchiness in response to kin, potentially indicating both increased competition toward strangers and reduced interference (cooperation) toward kin.

Selectable traits to increase crop photosynthesis and yield of grain crops.

  • R. Richards
  • Medicine, Biology
    Journal of experimental botany
  • 2000
The grain yield of cereals has almost doubled this century as a result of genetic manipulation by plant breeding. Surprisingly, there has been no change in the rate of photosynthesis per unit leaf

Kin selection or resource partitioning for growing with siblings: implications from measurements of nitrogen uptake

It is concluded that processes related to kin selection and resource partitioning can occur simultaneously, resulting in different competitive ability, which can improve the understanding of plants growing with siblings or strangers.

The breeding of crop ideotypes

It is postulated that a successful crop ideotype will be a weak competitor, relative to its mass, and the like plants in the crop community will compete with each other to a minimum degree.

Kin recognition or phenotype matching?

A series of experiments on Arabidopsis thaliana proving the existence of neighbor recognition without direct contact between plants through the perception of the vertical red : far-red (R : FR) and blue light profiles is presented and it is likely that two plants exhibiting the same light profile will have similar competitive abilities regarding cross-shading.

Photoreceptor-mediated kin recognition in plants.

It is shown that photosensory receptors mediate cooperative rather than competitive interactions among kin neighbours by reducing the competition for local pools of resources.