Generative cell composition and its relation to male plastid inheritance patterns in Medicago sativa

Tong Zhu, H. L. Mogensen, S. E. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Genetic studies have recently shown that plastids are inherited biparentally in alfalfa; yet most crosses produce high frequencies of progenies containing only paternal plastids, and certain genotypes have been characterized as relatively strong or weak transmitters of male plastids. The objective of the present study was to determine whether the structure of generative cells differs among genotypes known to differ in male plastid transmission pattern. Using the techniques of serial ultrathin sectioning and three-dimensional reconstruction, we found that mature generative cells of the genotypes investigated have basically similar morphology, and contain numerous plastids in each end of the spindle shaped cell. Since the morphological variation that does occur is as great within a genotype as it is between genotypes, it does not appear that generative cell structure can be used to predict male plastid transmission behavior in a particular genotype. The number of mitochondria in generative cells, which is much less than that of plastids, varies considerably among genotypes. However, comparable genetic studies between genotypes are not yet available on male mitochondrial inheritance in alfalfa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-72
Number of pages7
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 1990


  • Cytoplasmic inheritance
  • Male germ unit
  • Male plastid transmission
  • Pollen tube
  • Vegetative nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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