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Species Selection Maintains Self-Incompatibility

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Science  22 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6003, pp. 493-495
DOI: 10.1126/science.1194513

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Incompatible Self-Compatibility

Macroevolutionary processes driving species differences in diversification rates are important in explaining the variation we see in nature, but the extent of this process and how much the traits within a single species can drive changes in the diversification rate are unknown. Goldberg et al. (p. 493; see the Perspective by Wright and Barrett) analyzed the phylogenetics of the plant family Solanaceae and found that rates of extinction are greater for self-pollinating species than outbreeding species. Species-level selection against the deleterious effects of inbreeding may explain why self-fertilization, despite its short-term evolutionary advantages, has not spread to become more common in the flowering plants.

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