Journal Article

Kinship rivalry does not trigger specific allocation strategies in <i>Lupinus angustifolius</i>

Rubén Milla, Ainhoa Vélez del Burgo, Adrián Escudero and Jose M. Iriondo

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 110, issue 1, pages 165-175
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online May 2012 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Kinship rivalry does not trigger specific allocation strategies in Lupinus angustifolius

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Background and Aims

Research on the ability of plants to recognize kin and modify plant development to ameliorate competition with coexisting relatives is an area of very active current exploration. Empirical evidence, however, is insufficient to provide a sound picture of this phenomenon.


An experiment was designed to assess multi-trait phenotypic expression in response to competition with conspecifics of varied degrees of genealogical relatedness. Groups of siblings, cousins and strangers of Lupinus angustifolius were set in competition in a pots assay. Several whole-plant and organ-level traits, directly related to competition for above- and below-ground resources, were measured. In addition, group-level root proliferation was measured as a key response trait to relatedness to neighbours, as identified in previous work.

Key Results

No major significant phenotypic differences were found between individuals and groups that could be assigned to the gradient of relatedness used here. This occurred in univariate models, and also when multi-trait interactions were evaluated through multi-group comparisons of Structural Equation Models. Root proliferation was higher in phenotypically more heterogeneous groups, but phenotypic heterogeneity was independent of the relatedness treatments of the experiment, and root proliferation was alike in the neighbourhoods of siblings, cousins and strangers.


In contrast to recent findings in other species, genealogical relatedness to competing neighbours has a negligible impact on the phenotypic expression of individuals and groups of L. angustifolius. This suggests that kin recognition needs further exploration to assess its generality, the ecological scenarios where it might have been favoured or penalized by natural selection, and its preponderance in different plant lineages.

Keywords: Kin selection; Lupinus angustifolius; structural equation models; phenotypic plasticity; kin recognition; intraspecific competition

Journal Article.  7347 words.  Illustrated.

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

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