Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Ness is a grass with a particular apomictic embryo sac development called Eragrostis type. Apomixis is a type of asexual reproduction that produces seeds without fertilization in which the resulting progeny is genetically identical to the mother plant and with the potential to fix the hybrid vigour from more than one generation, among other advantages. The absence of meiosis and the occurrence of only two rounds of mitosis instead of three during embryo sac development make this model unique and suitable to be transferred to economically important crops. Throughout this review, we highlight the advances in the knowledge of apomixis in E. curvula using different techniques such as cytoembryology, DNA methylation analyses, small-RNA-seq, RNA-seq, genome assembly, and genotyping by sequencing. The main bulk of evidence points out that apomixis is inherited as a single Mendelian factor, and it is regulated by genetic and epigenetic mechanisms controlled by a complex network. With all this information, we propose a model of the mechanisms involved in diplosporous apomixis in this grass. All the genetic and epigenetic resources generated in E. curvula to study the reproductive mode changed its status from an orphan to a well-characterised species.
Keywords: cytoembryology; ovule development; reproduction.