1. What is the definition of parthenocarpy and what is a parthenocarpic fruit?
Parthenocarpy can be defined as a process of developing seedless fruits. It can occur naturally or can be artificially induced. In this process, the ovules are not fertilised leading to no formation of seed/s within the fruit.
A parthenocarpic fruit is produced using parthenocarpy. This type of fruit does not have embryo or endosperm. They are seedless and also known as virgin fruits.
Examples: Seedless grapes, seedless bananas etc.
2. What is artificial parthenocarpy?
When plant hormones such as auxin, cytokinin and gibberellins to stimulate the development of parthenocarpic fruits, the process is known as artificial parthenocarpy. It is also referred to as induced parthenocarpy.
3. What is apomixis and how does it differ from parthenocarpy?
Apomixis can be described as the formation of seed without fertilisation. The formation of seed and fruit starts with pollination and subsequent cell division and fertilisation. However, in this process, meiotic cell division doesn't take place and there is also no fertilisation of the gametes to form a zygote.
If apomixis occurs from the diploid sporophyte is known as Sporophytic apomixis and similarly, if it occurs the haploid gametophyte it is known as gametophytic apomixis.
Other than the general difference of one is the production of fruit without fertilisation and the other is the production seed without fertilisation, Apomixis produces genetically identical mother cells whilst parthenocarpy produces genetically identical offspring.
Apomixis is seen in angiosperms and gymnosperms whilst parthenocarpy can be seen in all types of plants.
4. How does parthenocarpy affect plant biodiversity?
According to many environmentalists, producing parthenocarpic crops decreases plant biodiversity which in turn reduces a plant species; resistance to disease. Aso transfer of genes from seedless crops to unmodified crops can make them sterile.