Monogenic inheritance of apomixis in two Hieracium species with distinct developmental mechanisms

Heredity (Edinb). 2000 Feb;84 ( Pt 2):228-37. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2540.2000.00663.x.


Apomixis, the asexual formation of seed, has been known in angiosperms for more than a century yet the genetic mechanisms that control this trait remain poorly understood. Most members of the genus Hieracium are apomicts, forming predominantly asexual seed. Some purely sexual forms, however, also exist. In this paper we present a study of the inheritance of apomixis using two apomictic species of Hieracium which utilize very different forms of megagametogenesis. In both cases the progeny inherited apomixis as a monogenic, dominant trait that could be transferred by both haploid and diploid male gametes. In common with observations from other systems, no diploid apomictic progeny were recovered from these crosses. This appears to have been caused by selection against the survival of diploid zygotes, rather than against the mediation of haploid gametes as has been noted in other systems. Crosses between the two apomicts showed that the dominant determinants in the two forms examined were closely linked, possibly allelic. The significance of these data is discussed with respect to current theories on the associative link between gametophytic apomixis and polyploidy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Asteraceae / genetics*
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Genes, Plant
  • Haploidy
  • Models, Genetic
  • Reproduction / genetics*
  • Reproduction, Asexual / genetics*
  • Seeds / genetics*