A critical analysis of studies addressing fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of plant leaves, published recently in Russia, demonstrated that most of these studies are based on insufficiently substantiated assumptions, employ outdated or inadequate methodology and do not contain sufficient information to support the use of the reported results in further reviews and meta-analyses. Contrary to widespread opinion, the current level of knowledge does not allow practical use of FA for bioindication. This use will only be possible after controlled experiments verify the cause-and-effect relationships between the levels of FA and the impacts of different stressors on plants. An adequate assessment of FA requires repeated, high precision measurements, which should be conducted blindly. In this treatise, I discuss the prospective directions for FA research in plants and provide recommendations on experimental design, data analysis and presentation of the results in publications.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 28, 2017
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