Plant reproduction

Haploid embryo production in rice and maize induced by PsASGR-BBML transgenes.

PMID 28238020


The PsASGR - BBML transgene, derived from a wild apomictic grass species, can induce parthenogenesis, embryo formation without fertilization, in rice and maize, leading to the formation of haploid plants. The ability to engineer apomictic crop plants using genes identified from naturally occurring apomicts will depend on the ability of those genes to function in crop plants. The PsASGR-BBML transgene, derived from the apomictic species Pennisetum squamulatum, promotes parthenogenesis in sexual pearl millet, a member of the same genus, leading to the formation of haploid embryos. This study determined that the PsASGR-BBML transgene can induce haploid embryo development in two major monocot crops, maize and rice. Transgene variations tested included two different promoters and the use of both genomic and cDNA PsASGR-BBML-derived sequences. Haploid plants were recovered from mature caryopses (seed) of rice and maize lines at variable rates. The PsASGR-BBML transgenes failed to induce measurable haploid seed development in the model genetic plant system Arabidopsis thaliana. Complexity of embryo development, as documented in transgenic rice lines, identifies the need for further characterization of the PsASGR-BBML gene.

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