Life History Variation as a Model for Understanding Trade-Offs in Plant–Environment Interactions

Lundgren, M.R. and Des Marais, D.L. (2020) Life History Variation as a Model for Understanding Trade-Offs in Plant–Environment Interactions. Current Biology, 30 (4). R180-R189. ISSN 0960-9822

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All plants must allocate limited resources to survival, growth, and reproduction. In natural species, allocation strategies reflect trade-offs between survivorship risk and subsequent fitness benefits and are therefore central to a species’ ecology. Artificial selection on allocation has generated high-yielding crops that often invest the bare minimum in defense or longevity. Ecological, genetic, and evolutionary analyses of plant life history — particularly with respect to longevity and resource allocation along an axis from annual to perennial species — provides a framework to evaluate trade-offs in plant–environment interactions in natural and managed systems. Recent efforts to develop new model plant systems for research and to increase agricultural resilience and efficiency by developing herbaceous perennial crops motivates our critical assessment of traditional assumptions regarding differences between annual and perennial plant species. Here, we review our present understanding of the genetic basis of physiological, developmental, and anatomical differences in wild and crop species and reach two broad conclusions. First, that perenniality and annuality should be considered syndromes comprised of many interacting traits, and that elucidating the genetic basis of these traits is required to assess models of evolution and to develop successful breeding strategies. Modern phenomic and biotechnology tools will facilitate these enquiries. Second, many classic assumptions about the difference between the two syndromes are supported by limited evidence. Throughout this Review, we highlight key knowledge gaps in the proximate and ultimate mechanisms driving life history variation, and suggest empirical approaches to parameterize trade-offs and to make progress in this critical area of direct relevance to ecology and plant performance in a changing world.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Current Biology
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Current Biology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Current Biology, 30, 4, 2020 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.01.003
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?? agricultural and biological sciences(all)biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology(all) ??
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Deposited On:
09 Mar 2020 14:55
Last Modified:
26 May 2024 01:18