The role of conflict in shaping plant biodiversity

J. M. Coughlan,  New Phytologist,  2023.

Although intrinsic postzygotic reproductive barriers can play a fundamental role in speciation, their underlying evolutionary causes are widely debated. One hypothesis is that incompatibilities result from genomic conflicts. Here, I synthesize the evidence that conflict generates incompatibilities in plants, thus playing a creative role in plant biodiversity. While much evidence supports a role for conflict in several classes of incompatibility, integrating knowledge of incompatibility alleles with natural history can provide further essential tests. Moreover, comparative work can shed light on the relative importance of conflict in causing incompatibilities, including the extent to which their evolution is repeatable. Together, these approaches can provide independent lines of evidence that conflict causes incompatibilities, cementing its role in plant speciation.

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