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Plant Cell. 1992 Oct;4(10):1237-1249.

Ovule Development in Wild-Type Arabidopsis and Two Female-Sterile Mutants.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, Davis, California 95616.


Ovules are complex structures that are present in all seed bearing plants and are contained within the carpels in flowering plants. Ovules are the site of megasporogenesis and megagametogenesis and, following fertilization, develop into seeds. We combined genetic methods with anatomical and morphological analyses to dissect ovule development. Here, we present a detailed description of the morphological development of Arabidopsis ovules and report on the isolation of two chemically induced mutants, bell (bel1) and short integuments (sin1), with altered ovule development. Phenotypic analyses indicated that bel1 mutants initiate a single integument-like structure that develops aberrantly, sin1 mutants initiate two integuments, but growth of the integuments is disrupted such that cell division continues without normal cell elongation. Both mutants can differentiate archesporial cells, but neither forms a normal embryo sac. Genetic analyses indicated that bel1 segregates as a single recessive mutation, and complementation tests showed that the two mutants are not allelic. The phenotypes of the mutants indicate that normal morphological development of the integuments and proper embryo sac formation are interdependent or are governed in part by common pathways. The ovule mutants that we describe in Arabidopsis represent novel genetic tools for the study of this stage of reproductive development.

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