Plant biology

Redox Status Incites Gametogenesis

Science Signaling  24 Jul 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 234, pp. ec197
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003413

Germ cells differ from somatic cells in their chromosomal complement, being haploid rather than diploid. In animals, the germ cells are generally produced by a separate lineage set aside early in development. Plants, however, lack a reserved germ cell lineage. Kelliher and Walbot (see the Perspective by Whipple) now show that, in maize, the key signal for germ cell production is hypoxia, which triggers differentiation of anther germ cells from a generalized field of progenitors. The specializing germ cells then induce differentiation of supportive somatic cells.

T. Kelliher, V. Walbot, Hypoxia triggers meiotic fate acquisition in maize. Science 337, 345–348 (2012). [Abstract] [Full Text]

C. Whipple, Defining the plant germ line—Nature or nurture? Science 337, 301–302 (2012). [Abstract] [Full Text]