Pollination, essential to much of life on earth, requires the explosive death of the male pollen tube in the female ovule. In new research, Brown University scientists describe the genetic and regulatory factors that compel the male’s role in the process. Finding a way to tweak that performance could expand crop cross-breeding possibilities.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Millions of times on a spring day there is a dramatic biomolecular tango where the flower, rather than adorning a dancer’s teeth, is the performer. In this dance, the female pistil leads, the male pollen tubes follow, and at the finish, the tubes explode and die. A new paper in Current Biology describes the genetically prescribed dance steps of the pollen tube and how their expression destines the tube for self-sacrifice, allowing flowering plants to reproduce. (more…)