- News Home
19 December 2013 12:36 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
After 20 years of trying, researchers have finally convicted massive volcanic eruptions in Siberia as the culprit in...
Five federally funded optical and radio telescopes in the United States could be forced to shut down over the next 3...
A 2-year budget agreement pushes back the threat of sequestration but leaves scientists still wondering how much money...
After a decade away from physics, Robert Laughlin, a Nobel laureate at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California,...
Computer scientists and others have teamed up to persuade the 117 state parties to the Convention on Certain...
The swine flu pandemic of late 2009 had a peculiar aftereffect in parts of Europe: a spike in children being diagnosed...
- 19 December 2013 12:36 pm , Vol. 342 , #6165
- About Us
ScienceShot: Every (Plant) Sperm Is Sacred
17 May 2012 12:00 pm
For plants, lots of pollen can be too much of a good thing. Once deposited on their flowers (perhaps after hitchhiking on bees), these sperm-containing packets dig down, tunneling in search of waiting eggs. If more than one pollen grain heads for the same reproductive cell, however, it could mean that others will go unfertilized. To figure out how plants avoid such wastefulness, researchers marked pollen belonging to rockcress, or Arabidopsis, with fluorescent dyes, giving the team the chance to observe the sperm's intrepid descent. As it turns out, once the sperm cells within one of those grains fertilizes an egg, other pollen grains stay away, perhaps because the plants turn off the signal attracting the packets to that cell. This rebuff, reported today in Current Biology, helps ensure that plants make the best use of the pollen that's been plopped onto their flowers. After all, bees don't grow on trees.
See more ScienceShots.