Preprint Hypothesis Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Plant Sexual Reproduction: Perhaps the current plant two-sex model should be replaced with three- and four-sex models?

Version 1 : Received: 24 October 2020 / Approved: 26 October 2020 / Online: 26 October 2020 (11:49:53 CET)

How to cite: Meissner, S. Plant Sexual Reproduction: Perhaps the current plant two-sex model should be replaced with three- and four-sex models?. Preprints 2020, 2020100518 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202010.0518.v1). Meissner, S. Plant Sexual Reproduction: Perhaps the current plant two-sex model should be replaced with three- and four-sex models?. Preprints 2020, 2020100518 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202010.0518.v1).

Abstract

The current plant two-sex model makes the assumption that there are only two sexual reproductive states: male and female. However, the application of this model to the plant alternation of generations requires the subtle redefinition of several common terms related to sexual reproduction, which also seems to obscure aspects of one or the other plant generation: For instance, the homosporous sporophytic plant is treated as being “asexual,” and the gametophytes of angiosperms treated like mere gametes. In contrast, the proposal is made that the sporophytes of homosporous plants are indeed sexual reproductive organisms, as are the gametophytes of heterosporous plants. This view requires the expansion of the number of sexual reproductive states we accept for plants, therefore a three-sex model for homosporous plants and a four-sex model for heterosporous plants are described and then contrasted with the current two-sex model. These new models allow the use of sexual reproductive terms in a manner largely similar to that seen in animals, and may better accommodate the plant alternation of generations life cycle than does the current plant two-sex model. These new three-sex and four-sex models may also help stimulate new lines of research, and examples of how they might alter our view of the flower, and may lead to new perspectives in terms of sexual determination, are presented. Thus it is suggested that plants have more than merely two sexual reproductive states, and that recognition of this may promote our study and understanding of plants.

Subject Areas

alternation of generations; fertilization; gametophyte; mating; meiosis; plant sexual reproduction; sporophyte

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