Cytoplasmic Inheritance

Diane Robertson robertdc at
Wed Oct 13 08:26:21 EST 1999

Cytoplasmic inheritance of mitochondria and chloroplasts is certainly
possible via the sperm cells of plants. These would be present in the
generative cell cytoplasm prior to it dividing to form the two sperm cells.
Please refer to an interesting series of papers by Scott Russell in the
early 1980's on the sperm of Plumbago zeylanica. The two sperm cells of
this plant are highly dimorphic with regard to  several characteristics,
including a disproportionate number of mitochondria associated with one
sperm and a large number of plastids associated with the other.  See the
following references:

   Planta (1984)  162:385-391  Ultrastructure of the sperm of Plumbago zeylanica

   Amer. J. Bot. (1983)  70:416-434  Fertilization in Plumbago zeylanica:
Gametic fusion and the fate of the male cytoplasm

   Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (1985)  82:6129-6132  Preferential fertilization
in Plumbago:  Ultrasturctural evidence for gamete-level recognition in an

Diane C. Robertson                      phone:  515-269-3039
Associate Professor and Chair           fax:    515-269-4285
Biology Dept.                           robertdc at *******
Grinnell College
Grinnell, Iowa  50112

                ******* Please note new e-mail address

More information about the Plant-ed mailing list