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Review Article|05 Jan 2022|OPEN
Hormonal interactions underlying parthenocarpic fruit formation in horticultural crops
Rahat Sharif1 , Li Su1 , Xuehao Chen1 , and Xiaohua Qi,1 ,
1Department of Horticulture, School of Horticulture and Plant Protection, Yangzhou University, 48 Wenhui East Road, Yangzhou, Jiangsu 225009, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,

Horticulture Research 9,
Article number: uhab024 (2022)
Views: 744

Received: 22 Apr 2021
Revised: 30 Jul 2021
Accepted: 25 Aug 2021
Published online: 05 Jan 2022


In some horticultural crops, such as Cucurbitaceae, Solanaceae, and Rosaceae species, fruit set and development can occur without the fertilization of ovules, a process known as parthenocarpy. Parthenocarpy is an important agricultural trait that can not only mitigate fruit yield losses caused by environmental stresses but can also induce the development of seedless fruit, which is a desirable trait for consumers. In the present review, the induction of parthenocarpic fruit by the application of hormones such as auxins (2,4 dichlorophenoxyacetic acid; naphthaleneacetic acid), cytokinins (forchlorfenuron; 6-benzylaminopurine), gibberellic acids, and brassinosteroids is first presented. Then, the molecular mechanisms of parthenocarpic fruit formation, mainly related to plant hormones, are presented. Auxins, gibberellic acids, and cytokinins are categorized as primary players in initiating fruit set. Other hormones, such as ethylene, brassinosteroids, and melatonin, also participate in parthenocarpic fruit formation. Additionally, synergistic and antagonistic crosstalk between these hormones is crucial for deciding the fate of fruit set. Finally, we highlight knowledge gaps and suggest future directions of research on parthenocarpic fruit formation in horticultural crops.