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Welcome to the Lab of Molecular Genetics

Plant Reproduction and Polyspermy

Pollen 1 and Pollen 2 are applied to the stigma of a gynoecium. Fusion of two sperm from two different fathers to the egg cellresulting in herbicide-resistant plants.
Pollen 1 (orange) and Pollen 2 (blue) are applied to the stigma of a gynoecium (green). Fusion of two sperm from two different fathers (orange, blue) to the egg cell (white) resulting in herbicide-resistant plants.

Polyspermy describes the fertilization of an egg by more than one sperm cell. In animals this usually has devastating consequences leading to the death of the newly formed embryo (Nakel et al. 2017).

The discovery that polyspermy in flowering plants is not lethal but generates viable triploid plants is a game changer affecting the field of developmental biology, evolution, and plant breeding (Tekleyohans 2017).

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Mitochondrial Codes and Communication

Mitochondria contain an outer and an inner membrane. The inner membrane exhibits membrane invaginations known as cristae, which are the sites of energy production.
Mitochondria contain an outer and an inner membrane. The inner membrane exhibits membrane invaginations known as cristae, which are the sites of energy production.

Mitochondria are organelles located inside eukaryotic cells that carry out the essential task of producing energy for the cell.

Apart from producing energy, mitochondria also regulate important cellular processes including signal transduction, redox homeostasis and programmed cell death (1). Or, as Nick Lane once put it “Mitochondria are pivotal in power, sex, and suicide.” (2)

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References

  1. A. V. Kuznetsov, R. Margreiter, Heterogeneity of mitochondria and mitochondrial function within cells as another level of mitochondrial complexity. Int J Mol Sci 10, 1911-1929 (2009).
  2. Lane, N. (2005). Power, sex, suicide: Mitochondria and the meaning of life. Oxford: Oxford University Press.