Rising global temperatures affect pollinator populations and food
production is becoming increasingly difficult for farmers. A new study
at the University of Maryland addresses this issue, giving insights into
how flowering plants develop fruits and seeds.
In the study led by Zhongchi Liu, the team aimed to discover how
fertilization â?? or pollination â?? triggers the fruit development process.
The team suspected that an internal communication system signals the
plant to develop fruit, but the researchers were unsure how that system
was being activated by fertilization or pollination. To find out, the
team simulated pollination and fruit development mechanisms using
strawberry plants as they are particularly suited to fertilization
modeling due to their unique structure and seed location.
Liu's team identified AGL62, a geneuniversally found in all flowering
plants, as the trigger to a plant's fruit and seed production. AGL62
stimulates the production of the plant growth hormone auxin. Once A6L62
activates, auxin is synthesized to prompt the creation of seed coat, the
seed's outer protective layer; the endosperm, the part of a seed that
provides food for a developing plant embryo; and fruit. The researchers
said that auxin's role in regulating endosperm growth is especially
significant as it impacts the size of the grain and enlargement of the