Date of Award:

12-2018

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Plants, Soils, and Climate

Advisor/Chair:

John G. Carman

Abstract

Apomixis, asexual or clonal seed production in plants, can decrease the cost of producing hybrid seed and enable currently open pollinated crops to be converted to more vigorous and higher yielding hybrids that can reproduce themselves through their own seed. Sexual reproduction may be triggered by a programmed stress signaling event that occurs in both the meiocyte, just prior to meiosis, and later in the egg just prior to embryo sac maturation. The prevention of stress signaling and the activation of a pro-growth signal prior to meiosis triggered apomeiosis, the first half of apomixis. The same approach was used prior to embryo sac maturation to trigger parthenogenesis, the second half of apomixis. This discovery suggests that apomixis exists as a program that can be activated by the appropriate metabolic signal at the appropriate developmental stages. Therefore, apomixis may be alternative mode of reproduction rather a ‘broken’ form of sexual reproduction.

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