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  • Rights: The University of Waikato
    Published 9 June 2011 Referencing Hub media

    Cross-pollination is a method of mating 2 plants. For apples, it involves taking pollen from the flowers of 1 apple plant and introducing it to the female parts of another plant with a different genotype. In this video, Richard Volz from Plant & Food Research explains how breeders carry out cross-pollination and the advantages of this method over open pollination in a breeding programme.

    Teaching points
    To learn more about pollination, visit these resources below.

    Flowering plant life cycles has information on the process of pollination.

    Follow the process that PollenPlus™ uses to prepare kiwifruit pollen for use in artificial pollination in this interactive.

    Learn how flowering plants use self-pollination or cross-pollination in their reproduction in this video, Plant pollination. The functions of pollen and nectar are also explained.

    Read about flower parts and their role in pollination and fertilisation.

    Useful links

    Pollinating fruit crops
    Learn more about how cross-pollination is managed in apple orchards.

    Pollination in the wild
    Read about how insects and others promote cross-pollination in wild plants.


    Richard Volz, Plant & Food Research
    Cross-pollination is when we take pollen from 1 genotype and put it onto the female part of another genotype. The advantage is that we are controlling both parents, as opposed to open pollination, where we are only controlling 1, which is the female parent.

    First of all, we take pollen from flowers from our father. The flowers are at their balloon stage so no bee has been into that flower. We basically remove the anthers from the flower and take the pollen off in the laboratory, dry that pollen and store it.

    When we are ready to pollinate the female flower, we first emasculate the female flower, and emasculation also removes the petals so that it reduces the chances of the bee landing on the flower and essentially producing rogue pollen into our flower.

    We then take the dried pollen from the laboratory and we dust onto the female part of the flower pollen from the father. The pollen then germinates and moves down the stigma of the female flower and fertilises the egg cells in the flower.

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