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A novel approach to differentiated embryos in the absence of endosperm

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In all of the Poaceae tested (Bromus, Festuca, Hordeum, Lolium, Poa, Triticum) the formation of grains without endosperm was induced from unpollinated ovules by treatment with the following synthetic auxins: DIG; 2,4-D; 2,4,5-T; or CPAA. Cytokinins (BAP, ZTN) as well as adenine or gibberellic acid (GA3) alone were ineffective. In parthenogenetic lines auxin treatment resulted in grains with mature embryos without endosperm. Differences in embryo differentiation were found, which were dependent on the synthetic auxins used, their concentrations, and the developmental stages of the treated spikes or panicles. Thus, the regulation of embryogenesis by the endosperm can be replaced by exogenous auxin application. The developing proembryos of grasses did not need nutritive support from the endosperm.

Auxin treatment to give mature embryos without endosperm enables the screening of apomictic species for sexual plants and sexual species for parthenogenetic individuals. It opens ways for inducing haploid parthenogenesis and improves methods for overcoming interspecific crossing barriers.

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Matzk, F. A novel approach to differentiated embryos in the absence of endosperm. Sexual Plant Reprod 4, 88–94 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00196493

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Key words

  • Poaceae
  • Auxins
  • Cytokinins
  • Gibberellic acid
  • Grain formation
  • Embryogenesis
  • Parthenogenesis
  • Apomixis