Apomixis in Boechera and selection the male and female developmental lines

ID: 613 / 248

Category: Abstract

Track: Pending

Proposed Symposium Title: Apomixis in Boechera and selection the male and female developmental lines


Timothy F. Sharbel1, Martin Mau1, Joanna Rojek2

Affiliations: 1 Department of Plant Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada 2 Department of Plant Cytology and Embryology, University of Gdansk Gdansk, Poland


We have been investigating the evolution and functional genomic units of apomixis in the genus Boechera (Brassicaceae) using a combination of comparative whole genome sequencing, RNAseq, seed phenotyping, embryological analyses and both interspecific and intergeneric crosses between apomictic and sexual plants.  Apomixis in Boechera is widespread and highly variable on genetic and phenotypic levels, and our data demonstrate that the apomictic phenotype can be transferred successfully in a single generation by rare haploid pollen produced by apomictic plants.  The ability of apomixis to spread depends on genetic factors which tend to be physically linked and whose evotion resembles that of univalent sex chromosomes in both animals and plants.  Furthermore, the specific factors identified to be associated with apomixis in Boechera reflect separate selective pressures which act on male and female organ development.  While these data are important for our efforts to bring apomixis technology to Brassica crops, they also outline a beautiful evolutionary story of balances between different pressures.  

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Key words: apomixis, natural selection, Boechera, genome, crosses, embryology