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Patterning Cues from the Altruistic Sibling

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Science  11 Apr 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6180, pp. 158-159
DOI: 10.1126/science.1252985

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Summary

Double fertilization is a key feature of flowering plants. One sperm cell from the pollen grain fertilizes the egg cell to form the embryo while the other sperm fuses with a second female gamete, called the central cell. The second fertilization event gives rise to the endosperm, long thought to be mainly a nourishing tissue supporting the developing embryo or the germinating seedling (1). In this issue, Costa and co-workers report on page 168 that in Arabidopsis thaliana the endosperm also provides crucial signals for the apical-basal patterning process of the embryo (2).