News of the WeekDevelopmental Biology

How Plants Pick Their Mates

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Science  24 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5376, pp. 503
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5376.503

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A discovery reported at the Society for Developmental Biology meeting at Stanford University last month may help explain how plants avoid cross-fertilizing, even though pollen from the "wrong" species often ends up on the female flower part. Researchers found that the receptive female part, the stigma, of the experimental plant Arabidopsis grabs pollen of the same species and holds on so tightly that even the sheer force of a centrifuge can't separate the two, but that pollen from a different species just falls off.