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Identification of Facultative Apomixis in Fluted Pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis Hook F.) through Emasculation Method

L Fayeun, D Ojo, A Odiyi, A Adebisi, L Hammed, Oluwaseun Omikunle

Abstract: Apomixis is seed and embryo formation without fertilization. A study was carried out from August, 2012 to May, 2014 in order to investigate the possibility of occurrence of apomixis in fluted pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis Hook. F.) using emasculation method. Five genotypes of fluted pumpkin were used. Ten plants from each genotype were planted out in a screened environment at the department of Crop, Soil and Pest Management, Federal University of Technology, Akure. The crop being dioecious, all the male plants were emasculated (by total removal from the site) as soon as they were noticed, leaving only the female plants. Seeds obtained from the fruits of isolated female plants were later subjected to viability test. After several weeks of flowering, flowers and developing ovaries abortion, they eventually set fruits. All the genotypes produced fruits (one or two) though at different times. Both apomictic and parthenocarpic fruits were produced. The seeds obtained from the apomictic fruits of all the genotypes had high seedling emergence percentage and good seedling vigour. Apomictic fruits, seeds and seedlings were similar to those of sexually produced fruits. The observed facultative apomixis could be as a result of natural selection. This study confirms that apomictic form of reproduction occurs naturally in fluted pumpkin. Facultative apomixis in the fluted pumpkin is being reported for the first time and its implication in the genetic improvement of the crop is discussed.
Keywords: Telfairia Occidentalis / APOMIXIS / dioecious / Genotypes.

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