Login

GPC Members Login
If you have any problems or have forgotten your login please contact [email protected]


Scientists discover that some plants are capable of ‘rubbing’ themselves in order to achieve self fertilization

A research team led by the University of Granada (UGR) has described a novel reproductive mechanism which actively promotes self‑pollination in certain plant species. They have called this mechanism ‘anther rubbing’.

Their study, published in the renowned journal The American Naturalist, represents the discovery of a previously unknown, unique phenomenon in the field of botany.

The mechanism consists of coordinated movements, repeated for hours, of the anthers (the end of the stamen, the part of the flower in which pollen is produced) over the stigma (the flower’s female reproductive system).

“Most plants have developed mechanisms to prevent self‑fertilization and the detrimental effects of inbreeding. However, some plants have specialized in selfing (also called ‘autogamy’), that is to say, fertilizing themselves without the need of crossing whit another plant,” explains Mohamed Abdelaziz Mohamed, professor from the UGR Department of Genetics and main author of this study.

Plants using selfing mechanisms are derived from the ones that use cross‑fertilization. Therefore, mechanisms favoring autogamy should be frequently found in nature, but such frequency has not been found. Most of the few selfing mechanisms found are passive.

“Plant movement is generally not obvious and tends to go unnoticed. Few cases present repeated and coordinated movements,” Francisco Perfectti and Mohammed Bakkali, two of the authors of this study and professors from the UGR Department of Genetics, explain.

The research, which counts with the participation of José María Gómez (CSIC) and Enrica Olivieri (UGR student), shows that anther rubbing causes self‑pollen deposition on stigmas and is sufficient to achieve maximal reproductive output, with values similar to those achieved by artificial pollination or outcrossing fertilization.

The present discovery opens a new way to understand plant reproduction and, therefore, plant evolution.

Read the paper: The American Naturalist

Article source: University of Granada

Image credit: Victor M. Vicente Selvas

News

Scientists crack the code to improve stress tolerance in plants

This novel epigenetic regulation mechanism underlies improved stress response in plants, which can be exploited for global food security


More Farmers, More Problems: How Smallholder Agriculture is Threatening the Western Amazon

A verdant, nearly roadless place, the Western Amazon in South America may be the most biologically diverse place in the world. There, many people live in near isolation, with goods coming in either by river or air. Turning to crops for profit or sustenance, farmers operate small family plots to make a living.


Early arrival of spring disrupts the mutualism between plants and pollinators

Early snowmelt increases the risk of phenological mismatch, in which the flowering of periodic plants and pollinators fall out of sync, compromising seed production.