Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Scientists uncover how poppies prevent inbreeding

Scientists at the University of Birmingham have uncovered how the field poppy prevents self-pollination, a form of inbreeding that if unchecked would result in a shrinking gene pool and unhealthy offspring.

The researchers, led by Professor Vernonica Franklin-Tong, have found that the poppy use a common 'enzyme switch', phosphorylation, as one of its key weapons to prevent self-pollination. The work is a significant step in understanding a key mechanism in plant biology and could provide a major boost for plant breeders.

Most flowering plants run the risk of pollinating themselves, rather than receiving pollen from another plant via an insect. The basic anatomy of many plants means pollen sacs are situated right next to the female reproductive parts. Accidental self-fertilization is a real risk. When a flowering plant is pollinated the pollen germinates and develops a pollen tube which grows through the stigma and female tissues and then enters the plant's ovary to effect fertilization. The Birmingham team, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), has found that when genetically identical pollen comes into contact with the field poppy's stigma, it triggers several chemical signals for inhibiting growth of the pollen tube. With tube growth halted fertilization cannot take place.

By adding phosphate to key enzymes involved in pollen tube development the plant effectively stops the pollen tube from growing, explains Professor Franklin-Tong at the University's School of Biosciences.

"Most plants require pollen from another plant to successfully pollinate. Accidental self-pollination would lead to unhealthy and less successful offspring. To avoid this plants need robust ways to stop self-pollinating activity," says Franklin-Tong.

"Our research has found that the field poppy has developed a particularly successful way of doing this. Pollen tubes require high metabolic activity, so inhibiting a key enzyme involved in driving these "high metabolism" processes is a very successful way of stopping pollen tube growth."

A better understanding of plant mechanisms against self-pollination could improve plant breeding. The possibility of selectively switching the self-pollination control on or off could make it much easier and cheaper to produce hybrid plants and seed.

Professor Franklin-Tong comments: "At the moment plant breeders must use expensive and time-consuming manual techniques to ensure new strains of plants do not self-pollinate. This is to ensure the traits they want come from both parent plants. If we could switch on the mechanism to guard against self-pollination we could drastically reduce the cost and time of developing new plant varieties."

Press Office | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Forest Management Yields Higher Productivity through Biodiversity
14.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Farming with forests
23.09.2016 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease

26.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

More VideoLinks >>>