Self control

 
Published: Wednesday 15 March 2000

Biologists at Cornell University, USA, have found a gene that prevents plants from being fertilised by their own pollen. They found that kale plant ( Brassica oleracea ) produces a gene "S locus cysteine-rich protein" (SCR) in its anthers. Anthers is the part of the flower that produces pollen. To test the effect of the gene, Christel Schopfer and her colleagues transferred the SCR gene from one kale plant to another. They found that the first plant would no longer accept pollen from the other. But exactly how the gene controls the pollen is still not proved ( New Scientist , Vol 164, No 2215).

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