The essential feature of apomixis is that an embryo is formed autonomously by parthenogenesis from an unreduced egg of an embryo sac generated through apomeiosis. The genetic constitution of the offspring is, therefore, usually identical to the maternal parent, a trait of great interest to plant breeders. If apomixis were well understood and harnessed, it could be exploited to indefinitely propagate superior hybrids or specific genotypes bearing complex gene sets. A fundamental contribution to the understanding of the genetic control of the apomictic pathway could be provided by a deep knowledge of molecular mechanisms that regulate the reproductive events. In Poa pratensis the cDNA-AFLP method of mRNA profiling allowed us to visualize a total of 2248 transcript-derived fragments and to isolate 179 sequences that differed qualitatively or quantitatively between apomictic and sexual genotypes at the time of flowering when the primary stages of apomixis occur. Three ESTs were chosen for further molecular characterization because of their cDNA-AFLP expression pattern and BLAST information retrieval. The full-lengths of the newly isolated genes were recovered by RACE and their temporal expression patterns were assessed by RT-PCR. Their putative role in cell signaling transduction cascades and trafficking events required during sporogenesis, gametogenesis and embryogenesis in plants is reported and discussed.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 7, 2005
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