Filial mistletoes: the functional morphology of moss sporophytes

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BACKGROUND: A moss sporophyte inherits a haploid set of genes from the maternal gametophyte to which it is attached and another haploid set of genes from a paternal gametophyte. Evolutionary conflict is expected between genes of maternal and paternal origin that will be expressed as adaptations of sporophytes to extract additional resources from maternal gametophytes and adaptations of maternal gametophytes to restrain sporophytic demands. INTERPRETATION: The seta and stomata of peristomate mosses are interpreted as sporophytic devices for increasing nutrient transfer. The seta connects the foot, where nutrients are absorbed, to the developing capsule, where nutrients are needed for sporogenesis. Its elongation lifts stomata of the apophysis above the boundary layer, into the zone of turbulent air, thereby increasing the transpirational pull that draws nutrients across the haustorial foot. The calyptra is interpreted as a gametophytic device to reduce sporophytic demands. The calyptra fits tightly over the intercalary meristem of the sporophytic apex and prevents lateral expansion of the meristem. While intact, the calyptra delays the onset of transpiration. PREDICTIONS: Nutrient transfer across the foot, stomatal number and stomatal aperture are predicted to be particular arenas of conflict between sporophytes and maternal gametophytes, and between maternal and paternal genomes of sporophytes.


Haig, DavidengEngland2013/01/02 06:00Ann Bot. 2013 Mar;111(3):337-45. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcs295. Epub 2012 Dec 30.

Last updated on 09/16/2015