The flowering plant germline is produced during the haploid gametophytic stage. Defining the germline is complicated by the extreme reduction of the male and female gametophytes, also referred to as pollen and embryo sac, respectively. Both male and female gamete progenitors are segregated by an asymmetric cell division, as is the case for the germline in animals. Genetic studies and access to the transcriptome of isolated gametes have provided a regulatory framework for the mechanisms that define the male germline. What specifies female germline identity remains unknown. Recent evidence indicates that an auxin gradient provides positional information and plays a role in defining the identity of the female gamete lineage. The animal germline is also marked by production of small RNAs, and recent evidence indicates that this trait might be shared with the plant gamete lineage.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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