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Experimental Studies of the Evolutionary Significance of Sexual Reproduction II. A Test of the Density-Dependent Selection Hypothesis

Norman C. Ellstrand and Janis Antonovics
Evolution
Vol. 39, No. 3 (May, 1985), pp. 657-666
DOI: 10.2307/2408660
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2408660
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Experimental Studies of the Evolutionary Significance of Sexual Reproduction II. A Test of the Density-Dependent Selection Hypothesis
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Abstract

This study tests the hypothesis that one evolutionary advantage of sexual reproduction is that it produces genetically variable progeny with a density-dependent advantage mediated by resource partitioning or pest pressure. Our experimental approach involved planting separate plots of sexually-derived and asexually-derived tillers of the grass Anthoxanthum odoratum in density gradients at the two natural sites from which the source material was taken. The sexual progeny displayed a significant fitness advantage compared to the asexual progeny. But, in contrast to the expectations of the density-dependent selection hypothesis, the advantage of the sexually produced progeny is most marked at lower densities. Thus, the results of this experiment and our previous report (Antonovics and Ellstrand, 1984) seem to best support the frequency-dependent selection hypothesis for the advantage of sexual reproduction.

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