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Development of the Male Gametophyte of Ginkgo biloba: A Window into the Reproductive Biology of Early Seed Plants

  • William E. Friedman
  • Ernest M. Gifford

Abstract

It has been a century since the discovery of zooidogamous reproduction among seed plants by Hirase [1, 2] and Ikeno [3]. The initial observations of motile sperm in Ginkgo and Cycas represented the culmination of progress, beginning with the discovery of the pollen tube by Amici [4], in the field of plant reproductive biology during the nineteenth century. Discovery of zooidogamy in Ginkgo and cycads in 1896 provided a critical connection, in terms of evolutionary history, between the life cycles of non-seed plants (“cryptogams”) with motile sperm and the life cycles of previously described seed plants (conifers and angiosperms) with pollen tubes and non-motile sperm [5]. Moreover, the presence of motile sperm within the male gametophytes of cycads and Ginkgo confirmed a prediction made almost one half century earlier by the renowned biologist Wilhelm Hofmeister [6] that flagellate sperm might be found among representatives of the seed plants [5].

Keywords

Pollen Tube Sperm Cell Seed Plant Female Gametophyte Male Gametophyte 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • William E. Friedman
    • 1
  • Ernest M. Gifford
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EPO BiologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Section of Plant BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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