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A form of sexual reproduction in which two or more offspring are derived from a single egg.



in animals, the formation of several embryos (twins, triplets) from a single zygote. Monovular offspring are always of the same sex. A distinction is made between specific polyembryony (normally characteristic of a given species) and sporadic, or occasional, polyembryony. Specific polyembryony characterizes some bryozoans, parasitic hymenopterans and strepsipterans, and armadillos. A striking example is the formation from one zygote of as many as 3,000 larvae in flies of the genus Litomastix. In the armadillo Dasypus hybridus Desmarest, seven to nine embryos, each having its own amnion but sharing a common chorion, develop from a single ovum. Sporadic polyembryony is observed in all animals, but it is especially frequent in some hydrozoan polyps and earthworms. In vertebrates it results from the division of the embryo into several parts, usually before or at the onset of gastrulation. In human sporadic polyembryony, two to five offspring of the same sex are born. Polyembryony has been produced experimentally in many animals by various means.


Kanaev, I. I. Bliznetsy. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959.
Ivanova-Kazas, O. M. “Poliembrioniia u zhivotnykh.” Arkhiv anatomii, gistologii i embriologii, 1965, vol. 48, issue 3.
Tokin, B. P. Obshchaia embriologiia [2nd ed.]. Moscow 1970.


In plants, polyembryony is the formation of several embryos in a single seed. They may arise in a single embryo sac (true polyembryony) or in different ones (false polyembryony). With true polyembryony, several embryos develop from a single zygote as a result of the zygote’s irregular division (for example, in some tulips) or as a result of delamination of the proembryo or the proembryo’s apical cell (in the European yellow water lily). They may also develop from cells of the suspensor (in Lobelia). Often in true polyembryony the embryo arises from one or two synergids (in iris, lily, and mimosa) or antipodes (Allium odorum). Additional embryos may arise without fertilization from cells of the nucellus and the integuments. With false polyembryony, the embryo is formed either as a result of development of several embryo sacs in the ovule (strawberry, pyrethrum) or the development of not only one of the four megaspores, as usual, but of several (in lilies and lady’s mantle). It may also form owing to the development of supplementary aposporous embryo sacs (from vegetative cells) and a normal sac (in hawkweed and wormwoods).


Maheshwari, P. Embriologiia pokrytosemennykh. Moscow, 1954. (Translated from English.)
Poddubnaia-Arnol’di, V. A. Obshchaia embriologiia pokrytosemennykh rastenii. Moscow, 1964.


References in periodicals archive ?
We also conducted an ANOVA on the percentage of polyembryonic E.
floridanum (Ashmead) (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), two frequently mis-identified polyembryonic parasitoids of caterpillars (Lepidoptera).
Polyembryony (PE) expression in relation to the increase in polyembryonic germoplasm (D) in the PE:HO germoplasm proportions.
When a flower from a polyembryonic tree is fertilised, multiple embryos are produced in a single seed,' QDPI research horticulturist, Dr Ian Bally, says.
The frequency of polyembryonic seedlings and polyploids from [ms.
Sibling rivalry and brood sex ratios in polyembryonic wasps.
How long you lovingly gaze at those lacy little carrot tops, or the even lacier California poppy leaves that are coming up now with the rain - to say nothing of the incredible beet, each of whose polyembryonic seeds contains several baby plants that sprout in unison.
In mango both polyembryonic and monoembryonic rootstocks are used with only a few rootstock cultivars identified as conferring beneficial effects on scions.
Mango genotypes are typically divided into two distinct categories: monoembryonic mangoes, which are mostly subtropical (Indian types) and polyembryonic mangos, which are mostly tropical (Southeast Asian types).
Polyembryonic development: insect pattern formation in a cellularized environment.
Progeny and sex allocation decisions of the polyembryonic wasp Copidosoma floridanum.