A Comparison of In Vitro and In Vivo Asexual Embryogenesis

  • Melanie L. Hand
  • Sacco de Vries
  • Anna M. G. Koltunow
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1359)


In plants, embryogenesis generally occurs through the sexual process of double fertilization, which involves a haploid sperm cell fusing with a haploid egg cell to ultimately give rise to a diploid embryo. Embryogenesis can also occur asexually in the absence of fertilization, both in vitro and in vivo. Somatic or gametic cells are able to differentiate into embryos in vitro following the application of plant growth regulators or stress treatments. Asexual embryogenesis also occurs naturally in some plant species in vivo, from either ovule cells as part of a process defined as apomixis, or from somatic leaf tissue in other species. In both in vitro and in vivo asexual embryogenesis, the embryo precursor cells must attain an embryogenic fate without the act of fertilization. This review compares the processes of in vitro and in vivo asexual embryogenesis including what is known regarding the genetic and epigenetic regulation of each process, and considers how the precursor cells are able to change fate and adopt an embryogenic pathway.

Key words

Adventitious embryony Apomixis Cell fate Gametic embryogenesis Kalanchoë Parthenogenesis Somatic embryogenesis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melanie L. Hand
    • 1
  • Sacco de Vries
    • 2
  • Anna M. G. Koltunow
    • 1
  1. 1.Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Agriculture, Waite CampusUrrbraeSouth Australia
  2. 2.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of WageningenWageningenThe Netherlands

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