Gallery: Tantalizing Images of Plant Sex

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Plant Sex

Credit: Anja Geitmann, University of Montreal
Plant reproduction and its human counterpart aren't all that different, a new study detailed in April 2013 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy…Read More »

of Sciences suggests. When a pollen grain, which stores plant sperm, lands on top of the stigma, a structure that sits atop the carpel where the female sex cells are stored, the pollen grows a long tube that pushes through the surrounding tissue. The pollen tube swells up like an inflating balloon, navigating a narrow channel to deliver sperm to the ovules, where it fertilizes an egg cell.

But when the tube encounters too much tightening force from the tissue, pollen tube bursts and releases sperm. Scientists captured the delicate act in these amazing microscope images.   Less «
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Tanya Lewis, LiveScience Staff Writer

Tanya Lewis

Tanya has been writing for Live Science since 2013. She covers a wide array of topics, ranging from neuroscience to robotics to strange/cute animals. She received a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Brown University. She has previously written for Science News, Wired, The Santa Cruz Sentinel, the radio show Big Picture Science and other places. Tanya has lived on a tropical island, witnessed volcanic eruptions and flown in zero gravity (without losing her lunch!). To find out what her latest project is, you can visit her website.
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