What role does the pollen tube play in pollination, and how does it really work? The Department Molecular Biology, at Brown University, has illuminated the intriguing process of pollination in new research published today in Current Biology.
From Embryon to Seedling: Inspired Research Produces Results
Decoded Science recently had the opportunity to ask Dr. Johnson about this research. Our first question? We asked Dr. Johnson about the inspiration for this research. He responded, “We are inspired by the very interesting biology of the pollen tube. This is a very fast growing cell that grows to a precise place and then explodes to release two sperm. One fuses with the egg to make an embryo and eventually the new plant, the other fuses with the central cell to make tissue that supports the embryon and seedling. How does the pollen tube get to its destination? How do the sperm fuse with female gametes once they get there? For this project we were curious to try to understand how it is that each ovule receives only one pollen tube. The benefits of this system for flowering plants are really important. The proper number of sperm are delivered – 2. If more are delivered, polyspermy could result (more than one sperm fusing with the egg). This is lethal. If a pollen tube fails to come, that ovule is wasted. We are trying to figure out the molecular mechanisms that create such an efficient system.”
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