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The aperture pattern of pollen grains is a character defined as the number, shape, and position of apertures. Although this character is highly variable in angiosperms, two states are particularly widespread. Pollen grains with one polar aperture occur frequently in basal angiosperms and monocots while tricolpate pollen is a synapomorphy of the eudicots. Many morphological characters are the result of a compromise between selective forces (acting on morphology) and developmental constraints (limiting the range of possible morphologies). To investigate what are the respective roles of development and selection in the determination of aperture pattern in angiosperms, we have chosen to study the characteristics of cell division during male meiosis, since it has been shown that aperture pattern is determined during microsporogenesis. The present study focuses on Asparagales. From a selection of species belonging to the major families of Asparagales, we described the type of cytokinesis, the way callose is deposited, the shape of the tetrad, as well as the shape and position of apertures within the tetrad. We show that although pollen morphology is quite uniform in Asparagales (most species produce monosulcate pollen), the characteristics of cell division during male meiosis vary among families. A highly conserved developmental sequence is observed in higher Asparagales whereas lower Asparagales, and particularly Iridaceae, display different ways of achieving cell division.

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© 2006 Sophie Nadot, Laurent Penet, Leanne D. Dreyer, Arlette Forchioni, Adrienne Ressayre

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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