Microsporogenesis and male gametogenesis are essential for the alternating life cycle of flowering plants between diploid sporophyte and haploid gametophyte generations. Rice (Oryza sativa) is the world's major staple food, and manipulation of pollen fertility is particularly important for the demands to increase rice grain yield. Towards a better understanding of the mechanisms controlling rice male reproductive development, we describe here the cytological changes of anther development through 14 stages, including cell division, differentiation and degeneration of somatic tissues consisting of four concentric cell layers surrounding and supporting reproductive cells as they form mature pollen grains through meiosis and mitosis. Furthermore, we compare the morphological difference of anthers and pollen grains in both monocot rice and eudicot Arabidopsis thaliana. Additionally, we describe the key genes identified to date critical for rice anther development and pollen formation.
Copyright © 2011. Published by Elsevier Ltd.