Annals of Botany

Effect of aperture number on pollen performance in Arabidopsis thaliana

Triaperturate pollen is the most conspicuous synapomorphy of the highly successful eudicot clade. It was previously suggested that this pollen morphology represents the major evolutionary adaptation, and that the stasis of triaperturate pollen is likely the result of selective advantage provided by this morphology.

In vivo germination experiment.
In vivo germination experiment. (A) A stage 13 receptive flower. (B) A receptive flower with stamens removed. (C) Examples of a young flower (left) and an old flower (right) used as pollen donors. (D) A stigma with deposited pollen. (E and F) Germination of pollen grains on a stigma. (F) Germinated pollen grains are indicated by asterisks, and non-germinated pollen grains are indicated by arrows.

Arabidopsis mutants producing pollen with different aperture numbers allows Albert et al. to investigate the effect of aperture number on several pollen performance traits (survival, germination, and reproductive success). Aperture number indeed appeared to have an effect on pollen performance. Triaperturate pollen outperformed other aperture types, which might explain the evolutionary success of this aperture pattern in eudicots.

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