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Many scientists have investigated female development during gametophytic apomixis (asexual seed formation). In this form of apomixis, genetically unreduced eggs form and embryos develop from the unreduced eggs parthenogenically (without fertilization). The resulting plants are "clones" of the mother apomotictic plant.
Most studies regarding apomoxis have delved into the processes contributing to asexual embryo development, neglecting the role that male gametes typically fill in the embryo formation. To determine the effect of apomoxis on male development, we studied pollen morphology in sexual Boechera formosa and compared it to pollen morphology in apomotictic B. microphylla. Understanding these differences should lead to a better understanding of gamete formation from anthers and pistils in apotmictic species and how these processes differ from those in sexually reproducing plants of the same genus.
Amanda Maughan, Student Researcher, Logan, UT
John Carman, Faculty Mentor, Plants, Soils, and Climate