Sexual and apomictic plant reproduction in the genomics era: exploring the mechanisms potentially useful in crop plants. uri icon

abstract

  • Arabidopsis, Mimulus and tomato have emerged as model plants in researching genetic and molecular basis of differences in mating systems. Variations in floral traits and loss of self-incompatibility have been associated with mating system differences in crops. Genomics research has advanced considerably, both in model and crop plants, which may provide opportunities to modify breeding systems as evidenced in Arabidopsis and tomato. Mating system, however, not recombination per se, has greater effect on the level of polymorphism. Generating targeted recombination remains one of the most important factors for crop genetic enhancement. Asexual reproduction through seeds or apomixis, by producing maternal clones, presents a tremendous potential for agriculture. Although believed to be under simple genetic control, recent research has revealed that apomixis results as a consequence of the deregulation of the timing of sexual events rather than being the product of specific apomixis genes. Further, forward genetic studies in Arabidopsis have permitted the isolation of novel genes reported to control meiosis I and II entry. Mutations in these genes trigger the production of unreduced or apomeiotic megagametes and are an important step toward understanding and engineering apomixis.

publication date

  • 2010
  • 2010