Double fertilization is a flowering plant mechanism whereby two immotile sperm cells fertilize two different female gametes. One of the two sperm cells fertilizes the egg cell to produce the embryo and the other fertilizes the central cell to produce the endosperm. Despite the biological and agricultural significance of double fertilization, the mechanism remains largely unknown owing to difficulties associated with the embedded structure of female gametes in the maternal tissue. However, molecular genetic approaches combined with novel live-cell imaging techniques have begun to clarify the actual behavior of the sperm cells, which is different from that described by previous hypotheses. In this review article, we discuss the mechanism of double fertilization based on the dynamics of the two sperm cells in Arabidopsis.
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