Microspore-derived plant embryos

Submission 2024

Plant embryos are derived in vitro from pollen grains without fertilization process
Submitted by:Xinlong Dong
Department:Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science (AFNS)
Faculty:Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences (ALES)

Microspore is produced by plant anthers that will finally mature and develop into male gamete/sperm cells or generally speaking the pollen grain. Under natural conditions, pollen, acting as sperm, combines with egg cells in the ovary to form a fertilized zygote, which then develops into an embryo. However, microspores, before developing into mature pollen, can directly evolve into embryos as long as appropriate stress and nutrients are provided. This photo captures the look of pollen under special incubation for 14 days. It shows beautiful embryos derived directly from pollen, which was once invisible to the naked eye. Each embryo displays shoots and cotyledons. These embryos will be transferred from the liquid culture medium onto a solid germination medium and exposed to light to continue their development until they grow true leaves and the substantial root system. Eventually, they will be transferred to soil for further growth.

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This image was captured under a sterile laminar flow hood using a black background and supplemental lighting. After capturing the photo, the background was further replaced with a solid black colour using Photoshop.