In the world of botany apomixis is a form asexual reproduction through seeds. Apomixis has been reported in 140 genera of angiosperms (flowering plants) and it is thought this has arisen throughout this history of angisperms (Van Dijk 2003).
In Van Dijk's study of Taraxacum (dandelion) and Chondrilla (skeleton weed) it was seen that "in both genera apomicts have a wider geographical distribution than sexuals, illustrating the short–term ecological success of apomixis" (p.1113).
However, "the long–term evolutionary success of apomictic clones may be limited by lack of adaptive potential and the accumulation of deleterious mutations. Although apomictic clones may be considered as ‘evolutionary dead ends’, the genes controlling apomixis can escape from degeneration and extinction via pollen in crosses between sexuals and apomicts. In this way, apomixis genes are transferred to a new genetic background, potentially adaptive and cleansed from linked deleterious mutations" (p.1113).
Barcaccia & Albertini (2013) explored the potential for exploring the use of apomixis in plant breeding & production:
"In angiosperms, two pathways of reproduction through seed exist: sexual or amphimictic, and asexual or
apomictic; the former is largely exploited by seed companies for breeding new varieties, whereas the latter is
receiving continuously increasing attention from both scientific and industrial sectors in basic research projects. If
apomixis is engineered into sexual crops in a controlled manner, its impact on agriculture will be broad and profound. In fact, apomixis will allow clonal seed production and thus enable efficient and consistent yields of highquality seeds, fruits, and vegetables at lower costs. The development of apomixis technology is expected to have a revolutionary impact on agricultural and food production by reducing cost and breeding time, and avoiding the complications that are typical of sexual reproduction (e.g., incompatibility barriers) and vegetative propagation (e.g., viral transfer)." (p.159)
REFERENCES: Barcaccia, G., & Albertini, E. (2013). Apomixis in plant reproduction: a novel perspective on an old dilemma. Plant reproduction, 1-21. Van Dijk, P. J. (2003). Ecological and evolutionary opportunities of apomixis: insights from Taraxacum and Chondrilla. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences, 358(1434), 1113-1121.