Difference between Somatic and Zygotic Embryogenesis

Somatic and zygotic embryogenesis are two types of plant embryogenesis where embryos are formed either sexually or asexually and develop into a whole new plant. Embryos, which are formed after sexual fertilization, is called zygotic embryogenesis, whereas somatic embryogenesis is the formation of embryos from somatic cells asexually.

Let us look at the point where both the types of embryogenesis differ.

Somatic Embryogenesis

Zygotic Embryogenesis


Somatic embryogenesis is a process where somatic cells of the plant are induced to form embryos.

Zygotic embryogenesis is the process of formation of an embryo as a result of double fertilization of the ovule.

It is an artificial, in-vitro process.

It is a natural process.

Type of Reproduction

Asexual reproduction

Sexual Reproduction

Seed Coat

No endosperm or seed coat is formed in somatic embryos.

Both endosperm and seed coat are formed in zygotic embryos.

Food Storage

Less amount of food reserve for embryos is present.

It has carbohydrate and protein reserves for the embryo.

Vascular Connection

The embryo has no vascular connection with the explant it is developed from.

The embryo has well-connected vasculature with the explant.

Developmental Phases

It lacks a quiescent resting phase, and directly undergoes somatic embryogenesis.

Zygotic embryogenesis follows the proper pathway of morphogenesis and maturation phase.

Explore BYJU’S Biology to learn more.

Also see:


What is the main difference between zygotic and non-zygotic seeds?

Zygotic seeds are formed by the fusion of two gametes, whereas non-zygotic seeds are formed from cells other than gametic cells.

What is non-zygotic embryogenesis?

Non-zygotic embryogenesis is the formation of zygotes from cells other than the gametic cells, such as sporophytic cells, unfertilized eggs, or male gametophytic cells.

Why is somatic embryogenesis important?

Somatic embryogenesis is important because it serves as a powerful tool for synthetic seed production, germplasm conservation and cryopreservation

What are the different types of somatic embryogenesis?

Direct and indirect embryogenesis are two types of somatic embryogenesis.

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