Polyploidy has had a considerable impact on the evolution of many eukaryotes, especially angiosperms. Indeed, most--if not all-angiosperms have experienced at least one round of polyploidy during the course of their evolution, and many important crop plants are current polyploids. The occurrence of 2n gametes (diplogametes) in diploid populations is widely recognised as the major source of polyploid formation. However, limited information is available on the genetic control of diplogamete production. Here, we describe the isolation and characterisation of the first gene, AtPS1 (Arabidopsis thaliana Parallel Spindle 1), implicated in the formation of a high frequency of diplogametes in plants. Atps1 mutants produce diploid male spores, diploid pollen grains, and spontaneous triploid plants in the next generation. Female meiosis is not affected in the mutant. We demonstrated that abnormal spindle orientation at male meiosis II leads to diplogamete formation. Most of the parent's heterozygosity is therefore conserved in the Atps1 diploid gametes, which is a key issue for plant breeding. The AtPS1 protein is conserved throughout the plant kingdom and carries domains suggestive of a regulatory function. The isolation of a gene involved in diplogamete production opens the way for new strategies in plant breeding programmes and progress in evolutionary studies.