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Male fertility in flowering plants is dependent on production of viable pollen grains within the anther. Genes expressed exclusively in the anther are likely to include those that control male fertility. On the basis of their tissue specificity, such genes have been isolated, yet in none of them has this function been demonstrated. Here we report that one such gene, Bcp1, is active in both diploid tapetum and haploid microspores and is required for pollen fertility. Perturbation of this gene in either tapetum or microspores prevents production of fertile pollen in transgenic Arabidopsis plants. When tapetum expression of this gene is perturbed, mature anthers contain dead shriveled pollen. On the other hand, when microspore expression is perturbed, anthers show 1:1 segregation of viable/aborted pollen. These findings identify a class of sporophytic/gametophytic genes controlling male fertility and, hence, reproduction in flowering plants.


H Xu, R B Knox, P E Taylor, M B Singh. Bcp1, a gene required for male fertility in Arabidopsis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 1995 Mar 14;92(6):2106-10

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PMID: 7892232

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