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Apomixis is a form of asexual reproduction that occurs in many plants and animals. Eggs of apomictic plants and animals form by apomeiosis, which means they do not become genetically reduced. Furthermore, these eggs develop into embryos without fertilization. Apomictic plants and animals generally reproduce quickly by making genetic copies of themselves, a trait that would be economically beneficial for perpetuating hybrid vigor if introduced into major seed crops. Metabolic stress induces a reversion from apomixis to sex in many apomicts, and this was recently shown to occur in species of the plant genus Boechera. 1 Transcriptome studies strongly suggest that this switch involves epigenetic reprogramming of the genome. I have drought-stressed cultured buds of apomictic Boechera in vitro to varying levels to determine an optimum treatment for inducing the switch from apomeiosis to meiosis. I have also exposed clusters of very immature floral buds to a DNA analogue that prevents DNA methylation (Fig. 1). This research is designed to allow me to determine the extent to which genome reprogramming, which involves DNA methylation, is involved in the switch from apomeiosis to meiosis.

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