News FocusPlant Biotechnology

For Plants, Reproduction Without Sex May Be Better

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Science  21 Dec 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5551, pp. 2463-2465
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5551.2463

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A better understanding of how plants reproduce asexually by apomixis may boost efforts to develop improved crops. Because the progeny of apomixis are identical to the parents, traits transferred into an apomictic plant, whether by classical breeding or genetic engineering, wouldn't be lost in the genetic shuffling that occurs during sexual reproduction. Apomixis also offers a possible way to avoid the degeneration of breeding stocks of some vegetatively propagated plants, such as potato and cassava, that accumulate pathogens through repeated use.