Synthetic clonal reproduction through seeds

Science. 2011 Feb 18;331(6019):876. doi: 10.1126/science.1199682.


Cloning through seeds has potential revolutionary applications in agriculture, because it would allow vigorous hybrids to be propagated indefinitely. However, asexual seed formation or apomixis, avoiding meiosis and fertilization, is not found in the major food crops. To develop de novo synthesis of apomixis, we crossed Arabidopsis MiMe and dyad mutants that produce diploid clonal gametes to a strain whose chromosomes are engineered to be eliminated after fertilization. Up to 34% of the progeny were clones of their parent, demonstrating the conversion of clonal female or male gametes into seeds. We also show that first-generation cloned plants can be cloned again. Clonal reproduction through seeds can therefore be achieved in a sexual plant by manipulating two to four conserved genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Chromosome Segregation / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Plant
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Diploidy
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genetic Engineering*
  • Heterozygote
  • Histones / genetics
  • Meiosis / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Reproduction, Asexual
  • Seeds / genetics*
  • Seeds / physiology*


  • Histones
  • Plant Proteins