Seedless fruit

Seedless fruit

Seedless fruits are fruits that have been developed to possess no seeds, generally to make consumption easier and more convenient. They are therefore considered commercially valuable. Most commercially-produced seedless fruits have been developed from plants whose fruits normally contain numerous relatively large hard seeds distributed throughout the flesh of the fruit.


Biologically, the term is somewhat an oxymoron, since fruits are usually defined (in a botanical sense) as mature ovaries containing seeds.

Seedless fruits can develop in one of two ways: either the fruit develops without any fertilization (parthenocarpy), or pollination triggers fruit development but the ovules or embryos abort without producing mature seeds (stenospermocarpy). Seedless fruits of banana and watermelon are produced on triploid plants, whose three sets of chromosomes prevent meiosis from taking place and thus do not produce fertile gametes. Such plants can arise by spontaneous mutation or by hybridization between diploid and tetraploid individuals of the same or different species. Some species, such as pineapple and cucumber, produce seedless fruit if not pollinated, but produce seeded fruit if pollination occurs.

Lacking seeds, and therefore the capacity to propagate via the fruit, the plants are generally propagated vegetatively from cuttings, by grafting, or in the case of bananas, from "pups" (offsets). In such cases, the resulting plants are genetically identical clones. By contrast, seedless watermelons are grown from seeds. These seeds are produced by crossing diploid and tetraploid lines of watermelon, with the resulting seeds producing sterile triploid plants. Fruit development is triggered by pollination and these plants must be grown alongside a diploid strain to provide pollen.

One disadvantage of most seedless crops is a significant reduction in the amount of genetic diversity in the species. As genetically identical clones, a pest or disease that affects one individual is likely to be capable of affecting every clone of that individual. For example, the vast majority of commercially produced bananas are cloned from a single source, the "Cavendish" cultivar, and those plants are currently threatened worldwide by a newly discovered fungal disease to which they are highly susceptible.


Common varieties of seedless fruits include: watermelons, grapes and bananas. Additionally, there are numerous seedless citrus fruits, such as: oranges, lemons and limes.


ee also

* Parthenocarpy
* Stenospermocarpy

External links

* [ How Seedless Watermelons Are Grown]
* [ Can This Fruit be Saved?] (discusses the disease threat to banana crops)
* [ Growing Seedless Watermelon]
* [ Where Do Seedless Watermelons Come From?]
* [ Producing "Seedless" Watermelons: A Biotechnology Virtual Tour]

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