Newly Identified Gene Reduces Pollen Number of Plants

Anthers. Image by Hiroyuki Kakui

Matured anthers of Arabidopsis thaliana: Compared to the wild type (left), the rdp1 mutant (right) contains only half of the pollen grains (in magenta). Image by Hiroyuki Kakui

Producing fewer sperm cells can be advantageous in self-fertilizing plants. An international study led by the University of Zurich has identified a gene in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana that reduces the number of pollen. In addition to supporting the evolutionary theory, these findings could help to optimize plant breeding and domestication in agriculture.

The research is a collaborative effort carried out under the lead of Swiss Plant Science Web member Prof. Kentaro Shimizu and his team in the Dept of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich with SPSW colleagues from the ETH Zurich (Dr. Thomas Städler), the University of Zurich (Prof. Ueli Grossniklaus), and at various other universities.

Reference publication
Takashi Tsuchimatsu, Hiroyuki Kakui, Misako Yamazaki, Cindy Marona, Hiroki Tsutsui, Afif Hedhly, Dazhe Meng, Yutaka Sato, Thomas Städler, Ueli Grossniklaus, Masahiro M. Kanaoka, Michael Lenhard, Magnus Nordborg and Kentaro K. Shimizu.
Adaptive reduction of male gamete number in the selfing plant Arabidopsis thaliana.
Nature Communications. 8 June 2020. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16679-7

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