University of Chicago researchers have found that a substance that functions as a neurotransmitter in humans also plays a crucial role in plant reproduction, guiding growth of the tube that transports sperm from a pollen grain on a flowers surface to the egg cells within a plants ovules.
Their finding, published in the July 11, 2003, issue of the journal Cell, is a major step forward in understanding plant fertility. The discovery could also help researchers understand similar biological processes, such as now nerve cells find each other and make appropriate connections. It may even provide clues about repairing spinal cord injuries.
"Since agriculture, which supplies nearly 80 percent of the worlds food supply, depends so profoundly on plant fertility, understanding this process is fundamentally important," said Daphne Preuss, Ph.D., professor of molecular and cell biology and an investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Chicago.
John Easton | EurekAlert!
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