Journal Article

Environmental regulation of sex determination in oil palm: current knowledge and insights from other species

Hélène Adam, Myriam Collin, Frédérique Richaud, Thierry Beulé, David Cros, Alphonse Omoré, Leifi Nodichao, Bruno Nouy and James W. Tregear

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 108, issue 8, pages 1529-1537
Published in print December 2011 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online June 2011 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcr151
Environmental regulation of sex determination in oil palm: current knowledge and insights from other species

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
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Background

The African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) is a monoecious species of the palm subfamily Arecoideae. It may be qualified as ‘temporally dioecious’ in that it produces functionally unisexual male and female inflorescences in an alternating cycle on the same plant, resulting in an allogamous mode of reproduction. The ‘sex ratio’ of an oil palm stand is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. In particular, the enhancement of male inflorescence production in response to water stress has been well documented.

Scope

This paper presents a review of our current understanding of the sex determination process in oil palm and discusses possible insights that can be gained from other species. Although some informative phenological studies have been carried out, nothing is as yet known about the genetic basis of sex determination in oil palm, nor the mechanisms by which this process is regulated. Nevertheless new genomics-based techniques, when combined with field studies and biochemical and molecular cytological-based approaches, should provide a new understanding of the complex processes governing oil palm sex determination in the foreseeable future. Current hypotheses and strategies for future research are discussed.

Keywords: Sex determination; oil palm; Elaeis guineensis; inflorescence; monoecious; temporal dioecy; flowering

Journal Article.  6531 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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