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Cloning capacity helps tropical seeds counter animal predation
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  • Zhenyu Wang,
  • Lin Cao,
  • Chuan Yan,
  • Yunda Niu,
  • Kang Chong,
  • Zhibin Zhang
Zhenyu Wang
Institute of Zoology Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Lin Cao
Yunnan University
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Chuan Yan
Institute of Zoology Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Yunda Niu
Institute of Botany Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Kang Chong
Institute of Botany Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Zhibin Zhang
Institute of Zoology Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Abstract

Seed predators have the potential to act as agents of natural selection that influence seed traits. Accordingly, plants deploy a variety of mechanisms (e.g. resistance and tolerance strategy) to lessen the impact of predation on seed crop or on an individual seed. In this study, we found a novel mechanism (i.e. cloning strategy) in a tropical plant species in countering animal predation. We found both rodent damaged and human artificially damaged seed fragments of a large-seeded tree Garcinia xanthochymus in the Xishuangbanna tropical forest of China could develop into seedlings in both field and laboratory conditions. G. xanthochymus seed has no endosperm in seeds, and its seed tissue own strong capacity of differentiation and cloning. Seed damage would negatively affect seedling growth and germination, but the seed germination rate was remarkably high. Our study suggests that, as a novel strategy countering animal predation, seed cloning would play a significant role in stabilizing the mutualism between plant and animals.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

06 May 2020Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
08 May 2020Assigned to Editor
08 May 2020Submission Checks Completed
11 May 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
30 May 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
01 Jun 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor