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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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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.