Genome complexity: how plants avoid inbreeding (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 14, 2018, 00:52 (3 days ago) @ David Turell

When pollen from the same plant falls on the stamen the last thing desired is fertilization which could lead to inbreeding, a process to be avoided if a species of plant is to survive:

"Recognition systems that prevent self-fertilization have evolved to ensure that a plant mates only with a genetically different plant and not with itself. The recognition systems underlying self-incompatibility are found all around us in nature, and can be found in at least 100 plant families and 40% of species. Until now, however, researchers have not known how the astonishing diversity in these systems evolves.


"In non-self recognition systems, the male (pollen) and female (stigma) genes work together as a team to determine recognition, so that a particular variation of the male- and female-genes forms a mating type. Non-self recognition systems are found all around us in nature and have an astonishing diversity of mating types, so the big question in their evolution is: how do you evolve a new mating type when doing so requires a mutation in both sides? For example, when there is a change in the female side (stigma), it produces a new toxin for which no other pollen has an antidote -- so mating can't occur. Does this means that there needs to be a change in the male side (pollen) first, so that the antidote appears and then waits for a corresponding change in the stigma (female side)? But how does this co-evolution work when evolution is a random process? (my bold)

"Through theoretical analysis and simulation, the researchers investigated how new mating types can evolve in a non-self recognition system. They found that there are different pathways by which new types can evolve. In some cases this happens through an intermediate stage of being able to self-fertilize; but in other cases it happens by staying self-incompatible. They also found that new mating types only evolved when the cost of self-fertilization (through inbreeding) was high. Being incomplete -- i.e., having missing F-box genes that produce antidotes to female toxins -- was found to be important for the evolution of new mating types: complete mating types (with a full set of F-Box genes) stayed around for the longest time, as they have the highest number of mating partners. New mating types evolved more readily when there was less mating types in the population. Also, the demographics in a population affect the evolution of non-self recognition systems: population size and mutation rates all influence how this system evolves.

"So although it seems like having a full team of F-box pollen genes (and therefore antidotes) is the best way for new mating types to evolve, this system is complex and can change via a number of different pathways. Interestingly, while the researchers found that new mating types could evolve, the diversity of genes in their theoretical simulations were fewer compared to what is seen in nature. For Melinda Pickup, this observation is intriguing: "We have provided some understanding of the system, but there are still many more questions and the mystery of the high diversity in nature still exists.'"

Comment: Note how Darwinist scientists struggle when the concept of the necessity of co-evolution appears. See my bold above. How about designed from the beginning.

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