Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2015, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (11): 1110-1121.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2015.0108

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Recent advance of kin recognition in plant

LIN Wei-Peng1,2, PENG Li1,2,3, XIAO Tao-Yan1,2, CAI Kun-Zheng1,2,*()   

  1. 1Institute of Tropical & Subtropical Ecology, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
    2Key Laboratory of Tropical Agricultural Environment in South China, the Ministry of Agriculture, Guangzhou 510642, China
    3Department of Entomology, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, China
  • Online:2015-11-01 Published:2015-12-02
  • Contact: Kun-Zheng CAI
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors


Plants have the ability to discriminate kin members from strangers in competitive interactions and show altruistic behavior towards related individuals. Studies have showed that plants recognize their neighbors and adjust their ecological strategy mainly through leaf volatiles, root secretions and photographic carrier. The target plants can modify their morphological traits (root size, root:shoot ratio, seed numbers etc.) or metabolism characteristics (secondary metabolites, defense-related proteins etc.) when groups of plants shared common resources, so as to minimize competition with close relatives. The density of kin recognition is influenced by environmental conditions. The main reasons for controversial experimental results of kin recognition are associated with plant materials, standard of kin selection, ecological factors and measured indices. Further studies are required to understand the mechanisms of kin interactions in plants from physiological, biochemical, molecular and metabolic levels.

Key words: evolution, kin recognition, kin selection, plant