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Sex Plant Reprod. 2012 Sep;25(3):215-25. doi: 10.1007/s00497-012-0193-4. Epub 2012 Jul 18.

Post-pollination prefertilization drops affect germination rates of heterospecific pollen in larch and Douglas-fir.

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Department of Biology, Centre for Forest Biology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 3N2, Canada.


Pollen of larch (Larix × marschlinsii) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) was used in homospecific and heterospecific crosses. Germination of heterospecific pollen in ovulo was reduced in post-pollination prefertilization drops. This provides evidence of selection against foreign pollen by open-pollinated exposed ovules in these two sister taxa, which share the same type of pollination mechanism. Of the other prezygotic stages in pollen-ovule interactions, uptake of pollen by stigmatic hairs did not show any selection. Pollen tube penetration of the nucellus was similar for hetero- and homospecific pollen tubes, but heterospecific tubes only delivered gametes in one cross. To test for differences in the post-pollination prefertilization drops of each species, drops were gathered and analysed. Glucose and fructose were present in similar amounts in Douglas-fir and larch, while sucrose was found in larch only. Other carbohydrates such as xylose and melezitose were species-specific. In P. menziesii, sucrose is absent due to its conversion to glucose and fructose by apoplastic invertases. In contrast, Larix × marschlinsii drops have sucrose because they lack apoplastic invertases. The presence of invertase activity shows that the composition of gymnosperm post-pollination prefertilization drops is not static but dynamic. Drops of these two species also differed in their calcium concentrations.

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