Date of Award:

2015

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Plants, Soils, and Climate

Advisor/Chair:

John G. Carman

Abstract

In flowering plants, apomixis is asexual reproduction by seeds. Apomixis allows the production of offspring with the same genetic characteristics as the mother plant. Fertilization is not required. Apomixis could become a tool for naturally cloning high-yielding crop hybrids through their own seed. However, apomixis does not occur in major crop plants, except for citrus. In the present study, genes that might cause apomixis in naturally occurring apomictic plants were investigated. Sexual and apomictic species of the genus Boechera were exposed to stressed and non-stressed conditions. Effects of these treatments on the expression of apomixis was then measured. Stress triggered an increase in the frequency of sexual development in apomictic plants, but continuation of sexual development to form sexual seeds did not occur. Stress also triggered alterations in the expression of stress-related genes.

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