Coleochaete and the origin of sporophytes

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Coleochaete and the origin of sporophytes

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Title: Coleochaete and the origin of sporophytes
Author: Haig, David Addison
Citation: Haig, D. 2015. “Coleochaete and the Origin of Sporophytes.” American Journal of Botany 102 (3) (March 1): 417–422. doi:10.3732/ajb.1400526.
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Abstract: Premise of the study: Zygotes of Coleochaete are provisioned by the maternal thallus before undergoing 3–5 rounds of division to produce 8–32 zoospores. An understanding of the selective forces favoring postzygotic divisions would be relevant not only to the interpretation of Coleochaete life history but also to the origin of a multicellular diploid phase in embryophytes.

Methods: Simple optimization models are developed of the number of zygotes per maternal thallus and number of zoospores per zygote.

Key results: Zygotic mitosis is favored once zygotic size exceeds a threshold, but natural selection usually promotes investment in additional zygotes before zygotes reach this threshold. Factors that favor production of fewer, larger zygotes include multiple paternity, low fecundity, and accessory costs of zygote production. Such factors can result in zygotes exceeding the size at which zygotic mitosis becomes profitable.

Conclusions: Coleochaete may possess large zygotes that undergo multiple fission because of accessory costs associated with matrotrophy, including costs of cortical cells and unfertilized oogonia. The unpredictability of fertilization on land is proposed to have increased accessory costs from unfertilized ova and, as a consequence, to have favored the production of larger zygotes that underwent postzygotic division to produce diploid sporophytes.
Published Version: doi:10.3732/ajb.1400526
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Open Access Policy Articles, as set forth at
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