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Curr Biol. 2008 Oct 28;18(20):R972-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.08.010.

The formation and function of the female reproductive tract in flowering plants.

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Division of Biological Sciences, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.


In angiosperms, sexual reproduction requires a sperm cell, contained within a pollen tube, to fertilize the egg cell. The pollen tubes are capable of growth but have a difficult journey, as egg cells are buried within the ovary of the carpel. Several tissues, known collectively as the reproductive tract, develop within the carpel to facilitate the journey of the pollen tube. The genes involved in the formation and function of the reproductive tract have largely remained a mystery but are crucial for successful fertilization. This review summarizes recent advances in our understanding of the genetic control of reproductive tract development.

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