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Kin discrimination in allelopathy and consequences for agriculture
  • Niels Anten,
  • Bin Chen
Niels Anten
Wageningen University
Author Profile
Bin Chen
Nanjing Forestry University
Author Profile


Recent research has shown that plants can distinguish genetically-related individuals from strangers (kin recognition) and exhibit more cooperative behaviours towards these more related individuals (kin discrimination). The first evidence for this was found when Cakile edentula plants growing with half-sibs allocated relatively less biomass to roots than plants growing with unrelated individuals, indicating that kin recognition can reduce the intensity of competition (Dudley & File, 2007). Since then, kin discrimination has been shown to result in reduced competition for soil resources (Semchenko, Saar, & Lepik, 2014), light (Crepy & Casal, 2015) and pollinators (Torices, Gómez, & Pannell, 2018). On the other hand, allelopathy, plants producing chemical compounds that negatively affect performance of neighbour plants, has also been widely documented (Inderjit & Duke, 2003) and shown to profoundly affect local species coexistence and plant community structure (Meiners, Kong, Ladwig, Pisula, & Lang, 2012). In crops allelopathy can also be beneficial in suppressing weeds (Macías, Mejías, & Molinillo, 2019). In the current issue, Xu, Cheng, Kong, and Meiners (2021) published the first study to show that kin discrimination can also affect the balance between direct competition for resources and allelopathy, and this together may lead to improved weed suppression in rice.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

11 Jun 2021Submitted to Plant, Cell & Environment
11 Jun 2021Submission Checks Completed
11 Jun 2021Assigned to Editor
20 Jun 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
22 Jun 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
02 Jul 20211st Revision Received
08 Jul 2021Assigned to Editor
08 Jul 2021Submission Checks Completed
09 Jul 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
21 Jul 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
23 Jul 20212nd Revision Received
23 Jul 2021Submission Checks Completed
23 Jul 2021Assigned to Editor
31 Jul 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
06 Aug 2021Editorial Decision: Accept