Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2022, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (9): 984-994.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2021.0409

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Application and progress of sexual selection and sexual conflict theory in plant reproductive evolutionary ecology

ZOU Jin-Lian, ZHANG Zhi-Qiang()   

  1. Yunnan Key Laboratory of Plant Reproductive Adaption and Evolutionary Ecology, School of Ecology and Environmental Science, Yunnan University, Kunming 650500, China
  • Received:2021-11-12 Accepted:2022-03-28 Online:2022-09-20 Published:2022-10-19
  • Contact: ZHANG Zhi-Qiang
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(31760104)


Sexual selection and sexual conflict are important driving forces for the diversity of reproductive traits and the evolution of sexual system in plants. These two interrelated but different theories could benefit our understanding of plant reproductive ecology. Although the sexual selection and sexual conflict have been considered in plant reproduction ecology, rarely related domestic research involved and applied them. Hence, we review the primary theories and research progress of sexual selection and sexual conflict profoundly in this paper. First, we review the development status and application basis of sexual selection and sexual conflict in plant researches. Second, we introduce the effects and mechanisms of sexual selection and sexual conflict during the process of plant reproduction, including pre-pollination and post-pollination stages, and emphasize the important influences of environmental factors. Finally, we summarize the shortcomings in previous research and point out the possible research directions in the future. In a word, we hope that this review could attract more attention to the importance of sexual selection and sexual conflict, and promote its application and development in plant reproductive biology.

Key words: sexual selection, sexual conflict, flower trait, sexual system, reproduction, evolution