Monday, April 6, 2009

Double fertilization – caught in the act

There was an article in Trends in Plant Science last year called Double fertilization – caught in the act that both reviews the field and includes photographs of Arabidopsis plants caught in the act....

In flowering plants, fertilization is unique because it involves two pairs of male and female gametes, a process known as double fertilization. Here, we provide an overview of the field and a detailed review of the outstanding recent advances, including in vivo imaging of double fertilization and the identification of a signaling pathway controlling the release of the male gametes and of a protein involved in gamete membrane fusion. These recent results are stepping stones for further research; our knowledge of double fertilization is expanding as newly discovered molecular pathways are explored and new mutants are characterized. Controlling plant fertilization is essential for seed production, and molecular understanding of double fertilization will provide the tools to improve crops and breeding programs.

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