Indexed on: 16 Sep '17Published on: 16 Sep '17Published in: Current Opinion in Genetics & Development
Flowering plants have evolved diverse mechanisms that promote outcrossing. The most widespread of these outbreeding devices are self-incompatibility systems, the highly selective prefertilization mating barriers that prevent self-fertilization by disrupting pollen-pistil interactions. Despite the advantages of outcrossing, loss of self-incompatibility has occurred repeatedly in many plant families. In the mustard family, the highly polymorphic receptors and ligands that mediate the recognition and inhibition of self-pollen in self-incompatibility have been characterized and the 3D structure of the receptor-ligand complex has been solved. Sequence analyses and empirical studies in self-incompatible and self-compatible species are elucidating the genetic basis of switches from the outcrossing to selfing modes of mating and beginning to provide clues to the diversification of the self recognition repertoire.