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Influence of intraovular reserves on ovule fate in apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.)


 In many plant species with multiovulate ovaries, a considerable reduction in the number of ovules takes place. However, the underlying physiological causes are not clear. In Prunus spp., although flowers present two ovules, usually only one seed is produced. We have followed the development and degeneration of the two ovules in apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) and examined the extent to which carbohydrates within the ovule might be involved in determining the fate of the ovule. While the primary ovule grows in the days following anthesis, growth of the secondary ovule is arrested. Starch distribution along the different ovular tissues exhibits several changes that are different in the two ovules. Primary ovule growth is inversely related to starch content and this growth takes place independently of pollination since it occurs in the same way in pollinated and unpollinated flowers. In the secondary ovule, starch disappears simultaneously from all ovular structures and callose is layered at the chalazal end of the nucellus. The size of the secondary ovule does not change significantly from anthesis to degeneration, and callose starts to accumulate 5 days after anthesis. Likewise, this process occurs independently of pollination. These results are discussed in terms of the implications of the starch content of ovules in fertilization success and ovule fate.

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Received: 26 August 1997 / Revision accepted: 17 December 1997

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Rodrigo, J., Herrero, M. Influence of intraovular reserves on ovule fate in apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.). Sex Plant Reprod 11, 86–93 (1998).

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  • Key words Apricot
  • Ovule abortion
  • Ovule development
  • Starch
  • Prunus armeniaca