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Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2005;56:393-434.

Molecular genetic analyses of microsporogenesis and microgametogenesis in flowering plants.

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Department of Biology and the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.


In flowering plants, male reproductive development requires the formation of the stamen, including the differentiation of anther tissues. Within the anther, male meiosis produces microspores, which further develop into pollen grains, relying on both sporophytic and gametophytic gene functions. The mature pollen is released when the anther dehisces, allowing pollination to occur. Molecular studies have identified a large number of genes that are expressed during stamen and pollen development. Genetic analyses have demonstrated the function of some of these genes in specifying stamen identity, regulating anther cell division and differentiation, controlling male meiosis, supporting pollen development, and promoting anther dehiscence. These genes encode a variety of proteins, including transcriptional regulators, signal transduction proteins, regulators of protein degradation, and enzymes for the biosynthesis of hormones. Although much has been learned in recent decades, much more awaits to be discovered and understood; the future of the study of plant male reproduction remains bright and exciting with the ever-growing tool kits and rapidly expanding information and resources for gene function studies.

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