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Plant biologists discover gene that switches on 'essence of male'
Date:3/19/2009

s and evolution of gamete development in flowering plants and may be useful in the control of gene flow and crossing behaviour in crop plants."

The researchers also report on the presence of genes closely related to DUO1 in a wide variety of flowering plants and even in lowly land plants such as moss, which suggests that DUO1 may be part of an ancient sperm cell regulatory network that evolved even before pollen and flowers appeared on the scene.

Interestingly, DUO1 is also related to a super class of Myb regulator proteins also present in animals that have an important role in controlling cell proliferation and that are implicated in certain human cancers such as leukemias. So like animal cell Myb proteins, DUO1 is needed for control of cell proliferation, but DUO1 is distinguished by its specific role in plant reproduction, namely its dual role in sperm cell production and switching on their ability to fertilize.

Professor Twell added that the study could help to unravel the evolutionary origins of plant sperm cells and provide new molecular tools for the manipulation of plant fertility and hybrid seed production as well as to control gene flow in transgenic crops where the male contribution may need to be eliminated.


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Contact: Professor David Twell
twe@le.ac.uk
01-162-522-281
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert  

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