The “Fertilization Dance” in Flowering Plants is Similar to Animals….Except for Who Leads

The Sperm & Egg Tango In a paper published in the 23 November 2012 issue of Science magazine (Ref 1 below), Dr. Stephanie Sprunck and Prof. Dr. Thomas Dresselhaus and colleagues report a major finding regarding the cellular nature of sexual reproduction in plants. Specifically, they have been studying gamete…

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Nothing To Sneeze At: Making Pollen-Free Plants Using Genetic Engineering

Sneeze The pollen from some plants can cause allergic rhinitis, a.k.a., “hay fever” in many people. This is because, when the pollen is inhaled into the nasal passages, antigens on the surface of the pollen elicit an immune response in people with a sensitized immune system. (In grass pollen, the…

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Plant “Puberty” – Acquiring A “License To Flower”

Is There a Single Flower-Inducing Pathway? It’s well known that “florigen” is the signal that triggers the transition from vegetative to reproductive development in plants that flower in response to photoperiod. But some plants, for example the “Night-Neutral” (a.k.a., “Day-Neutral”) plants, apparently initiate flowering because of factors other than night…

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Hothouse Flowers: Why Does A Warm Spring Promote Flowering?

Warming Temps –> “Fast-Forward” Flowering Unusually warm temperatures often cause some plants to flower early. For example, this spring in eastern North America unseasonably high temperatures have induced some plants to put flowering on “fast forward”. Coincidentally, a recently-published research report (see Ref. 1 below) has revealed a genetic “switch”…

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