Somatic Selection in plants

Ross Whetten rosswhet at
Fri Apr 23 11:26:35 EST 1993

|> Dave Rindos (arkdr at wrote:
|> : Newsgroups: bionet.plants
|> : Subject: Somatic selection 
|> : 
|> : 	I was wondering if somebody could help me with any  references
|> : to papers which have considered (either experimentally or in the field)
|> : the general subject of somatic selection in plants. 

There is a substantial body of literature on the potential importance of
somatic mutation in plant evolution, but relatively little on the actual 
effect. The following papers offer a range of perspectives on the issue,
and will provide an entry point into the rest of the literature.

Antolin & Strobeck, American Naturalist vol. 126 no. 1; pp 52-62, July 1985
"The population genetics of somatic mutation in plants"
A theoretical consideration of the rate of somatic mutation necessary to contribute
significantly to the variation upon which selection can operate.

Whitham and Slobodchikoff, Oecologia (Berlin) vol. 49; pp 287-292, 1981
"Evolution by individuals, plant-herbivore interactions, and mosaics of genetic
variation: the adaptive significance of somatic mutations in plants"
Hypothetical treatment of how somatic mutation might contribute to plant
evolution, especially in clonally propagating species and in large trees.

White, Ann. Rev. of Ecology and Systematics, vol. 10; pp 109-145, 1979
"The plant as metapopulation"
A theoretical discussion of plant development and the basis for considering an
individual plant to be a population of meristems

Sutherland and Watkinson, Nature vol 320; p 305, 27 March 1986
"Do plants evolve differently?"
A "News and Views" column on the potential effects of somatic mutation in plants

Imai, Ichikawa and Sanda-Kamigawara, Jpn. J. Genet. vol. 66; pp 501-511, 1991
"Variation of spontaneous somatic mutation frequency in the stamen hairs of
a mutable clone of Tradescantia, KU 20"
Representative of a long line of papers describing somatic mutation in stamen
hairs of Tradescantia as a laboratory system for investigation of somatic
mutation frequency in plants.

Ross Whetten 
Research Assistant Professor 
Forest Biotechnology Group
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-8008  USA
telephone or fax (919)515-7801
e-mail rosswhet at

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