Plant Biology

Partners in Reproduction

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Science  26 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5973, pp. 1555
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5973.1555-d

Production of the next generation in plants follows a more tortuous path than the corresponding process in animals. In Arabidopsis, the next generation is made up of both embryo and endosperm, which are produced in two separate fertilization events by separate sperm (albeit from the same meiotic generation). Pillot et al. have analyzed how the transition from an initial reliance on maternal RNAs to subsequent zygotic transcription occurs for both next-generation tissues. Although the zygote can coast on maternally supplied transcripts for a while, the endosperm cannot and becomes self-reliant from the moment of fertilization. These differences can be attributed to the epigenetic status of the chromatin. Analyses of DNA methylation and histone modifications show that the differences in the female gametes—the egg and central cells—are established late in gametogenesis.

Plant Cell 22, 10.1105/tpc.109.071647 (2010).

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