Non-self Pollen Fertilizing a Petunia
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Non-self Pollen Fertilizing a Petunia

February 21, 2011
This diagram shows non-self pollen fertilizing a petunia, and conversely, self pollen perishing.

The female part of the petunia flower secretes an enzyme that is designed to deter pollen tube growth, thereby preventing fertilization. However, in the cases where the pollen has come from a genetically different plant, the pollen produces its own protein that combats the pistil's enzyme. With the enzyme out of the way, the pollen tube can keep growing and fertilization can occur.

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