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New Phytol. 2012 Jul;195(2):290-305. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2012.04182.x. Epub 2012 May 29.

Endosperm: food for humankind and fodder for scientific discoveries.

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Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, 1 Research Link, National University of Singapore, 117604 Singapore, Singapore.


The endosperm is an essential constituent of seeds in flowering plants. It originates from a fertilization event parallel to the fertilization that gives rise to the embryo. The endosperm nurtures embryo development and, in some species including cereals, stores the seed reserves and represents a major source of food for humankind. Endosperm biology is characterized by specific features, including idiosyncratic cellular controls of cell division and epigenetic controls associated with parental genomic imprinting. This review attempts a comprehensive summary of our current knowledge of endosperm development and highlights recent advances in this field.

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