The molecular nature of gene expression during the initiation and progress of diplosporous apomixis is still unknown. Moreover, the basis of the close correlation between diplospory and polyploidy is not clarified yet. A comparative expression analysis was performed based on expressed sequence tags (ESTs) sequencing and differential display in an Eragrostis curvula diplosporous tetraploid genotype (T, 4x apo), a sexual diploid derivative obtained from tissue culture (D, 2x sex) and an artificial sexual tetraploid obtained from the diploid seeds after colchicine treatment (C, 4x sex). From a total of 8,884 unigenes sequenced from inflorescence-derived libraries, 112 (1.26%) showed significant differential expression in individuals with different ploidy level and/or variable reproductive mode. Independent comparisons between plants with different reproductive mode (same ploidy) or different ploidy level (same reproductive mode) allowed the identification of genes modulated in response to diplosporous development or polyploidization, respectively. Surprisingly, a group of genes (Group 3) were differentially expressed or silenced only in the 4x sex plant, presenting similar levels of expression in the 4x apo and the 2x sex genotypes. A group of randomly selected differential genes was validated by QR-PCR. Differential display analysis showed that in general the 4x apo and 4x sex expression profiles were more related and different from the 2x sex one, but confirmed the existence of Group 3-type genes, in both inflorescences and leaves. The possible biological significance for the occurrence of this particular group of genes is discussed. In silico mapping onto the rice genome was used to identify candidates mapping to the region syntenic to the diplospory locus.