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Seed plant gametophytes: Still the forgotten generation?!?

Russell, Scott D. [1].

Seed plant gametophytes: Still the forgotten generation?!?.

Sexuality in seed plants is restricted exclusively to cells that have undergone meiosis. The female gametophyte (so-called embryo sac) and the male gametophyte (pollen grain and tube) represent severely evolutionarily reduced genetically independent organisms that operate under the grace of sporophytic culture. The gametophytes, however, retain a complex suite of genetic expression and an unusually restricted structural repertoire, manifested by narrow variability within a small base number of cells. This symposium will shed light on (1) mechanisms controlling gene silencing, (2) the nature of gene expression in male gametic lineages and diversity of gene expression in gametes, (3) experimental aspects of double fertilization, (4) fertilization-independent development of seed products and (5) the condition of gametophytes in ancestral angiosperms and the evolution of double fertilization. In the tumult of the modern biological revolution of the 1970s, Professor John Heslop-Harrison suggested that gametophytes were a plant counterpart of a “forgotten generation.” After nearly 30 years of additional study, flowering plant gametophytes retain much of their fascination, potential as reproductive cells and hidden complexity. This modern day series of presentations address critical questions of gametophyte biology that cast a shadow on what has become a wealth of information, with even more questions than we had before. The application of increasingly more powerful new technologies assures that the gametophytes need not be forgotten and their potential in the improvement of seed plants may finally be tapped.

1 - University of Oklahoma, Department of Botany and Microbiology, 770 Van Vleet Oval, Norman, Oklahoma, 73019, USA

gene silencing
generative cell
sperm cell
egg cell
double fertilization.

Presentation Type: Symposium
Session: 6-1
Location: Ballroom 1 (Cliff Lodge)
Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2004
Time: 8:20 AM
Abstract ID:403

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