Chapter 14: Variation and Plant Breeding

Plant propagation relies on gametogenesis for fertilization and the formation of fruit and seeds. Unlike asexual propagation, seeds from a single pollination can generation tremendous variation, depending on the diversity that exists within each parent. Geneticists take advantage of this diversity to understand how genes control the plant’s phenotypes and to make improved varieties that are tastier and have improved disease resistance.


Learning objectives

By the end of this lesson you will be able to:

  • Identify the source and mechanisms that produce gametes.
  • Explain double fertilization and the production of a zygote, embryo, and other seed structures.
  • Contrast the difference between simple/qualitative and complex/quantitative inheritance and the basis of that difference.
  • Predict the types of F1 and F2 offspring expected when crossing two parents with known genotypes and phenotypes.
  • Understand how heritability is a measure of genetic influence, relative to other non-genetic influences.



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