Beyond promiscuity: From sexuality to apomixis in flowering plants
- Cite this article as:
- Estrada-Luna, A.A., Huanca-Mamani, W., Acosta-García, G. et al. In Vitro Cell.Dev.Biol.-Plant (2002) 38: 146. doi:10.1079/IVP2001278
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Little is known about the genetic basis and molecular mechanisms regulating female gametogenesis in flowering plants. In many species sexuality is replaced by apomixis, a method of asexual reproduction that circumvents female meiosis and fertilization, and culminates in the formation of clonal seeds. Using a new generation of transposon based insertional mutagenesis strategies and their resulting molecular tools, we are investigating how female meiotically derived cells (megaspores) acquire their identity. We are also determining their function and interactions, and attempting the induction of apomixis initiation in the ovule of Arabidopsis. This basic knowledge will contribute to establish the transfer of apomixis into sexual crops, a major challenge faced by plant biotechnology. The introduction of apomixis as a reproductive alternative could represent a unique opportunity to simplify breeding schemes and genetically perpetuate any desired heterozygous genotype, including hybrids.