Environmental and Genetical Aspects of Pollen Embryogenesis

  • W. Powell
Part of the Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry book series (AGRICULTURE, volume 12)


The angiosperm pollen grain or microspore is the product of a reduction division of the pollen mother cell in the anther and is the basic entity from which the male gametophyte evolves. Although immature pollen grains (microspores) are programmed for differentiation into gametes, a proportion of these cells may be induced to divide and form embryoids. This process of microspore cell division and regeneration has been termed pollen embryogenesis and provides an example of cellular totipotency in higher plants. The phenomenon of pollen embryogenesis is best illustrated by the technique of anther culture which involves the culture of anthers containing microspores at a particular stage of development on a predefined culture medium. Developments in technique and methodology have resulted in microspore-derived plants being produced in a large number of species (Bajaj 1983; Dunwell 1985; see also Chap. 1.1, this Vol.). A survey of the literature reveals that the sporophytic development of microspores has been assigned to two basic modes. The first mode involves a sequence of events similar to zygotic embryogenesis and results in the formation of embryoids and plantlets. The second pathway results in the formation of undifferentiated callus from which plants are subsequently regenerated. The particular developmental pathway used to be considered a feature of the species employed. For example, it was generally assumed that plantlet regeneration in the Gramineae proceeds via a callus phase and does not therefore constitute an embryogenic pathway to plantlet formation.


Anther Culture Specific Combine Ability Donor Plant Microspore Embryogenesis Microspore Development 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Powell
    • 1
  1. 1.Scottish Crop Research InstituteInvergowrieUnited Kingdom

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