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Related to Polyembryony: apomixis


A form of sexual reproduction in which two or more offspring are derived from a single egg.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In some species, polyembryony is an obligate part of development.
Loss of polyembryony as a normal seed developmental feature: as in Torreya (Coulter & Land, 1905).
The two species presented only one embryo per seed and no polyembryony was recorded.
Using one of the search engines on the Internet, such as Google, Yahoo!, Ask.com, or MSN Live Search, find more information by searching for these words or phrases: after riping, dioecious, generative cell, integument, microsporangia, microspore mother cell, nucellus, ovule, polyembryony, seed coat, self-incompatible, and tube cell.
Andrade-Rodriguez M, Villegas-Monter A, Carrillo-Castaneda G, Garcia-Velasquez A (2004) Polyembryony and identification of volkamerian lemon zygotic and nucellar seedlings using RAPD.
These data are starting points in evaluating the impact of monozygotic polyembryony on armadillo behavior and social structure.
(2010) conclude by the anatomical studies of the embryonic axis that the vascular bundles come from a single embryo, occurring the branching of the Epicotyl in the collar, originating multiple stems in the avocado seed, characterizing as multi-stem and not polyembryony. The results found by Oliveira et al.
Characterization of genes associated with polyembryony and in vitro somatic embryogenesis in Citrus.
This mutation also affects nuclear migration and cellular differentiation (Lin, 1978, 1981).This array of pleiotropic effects at the level of the female gametophyte gives rise to polyembryony and elevated ploidy levels of the endosperm after fertilization, derived from fertilization by different pollen tubes, together with miniature endosperms, early abortion of seeds and the occurrence of androgenic and gynogenic haploids in a 2:1 ratio (Kermicle, 1969, 1971, 1994; Lin, 1984).
Microscalc genetic differentiation in a sessile invertebrate with cloned larvae: investigating the role of polyembryony. Mar.