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Updating embryonic ontogenesis in Araucaria angustifolia: from Burlingame (1915) to the present

  • Daniela Goeten
  • Gladys D. Rogge-Renner
  • Éder C. Schmidt
  • Zenilda L. Bouzon
  • Francine L. Farias-Soares
  • Miguel P. Guerra
  • Neusa SteinerEmail author
Original Article


This study addresses gaps in our understanding of pre-fertilization and archegonia development and reinterprets embryonic ontogenesis from Burlingame (Bot Gaz 59:1–39, 1915) to the present based on timescale and structural features allowing us to determine functionally and developmentally accurate terminology for all these stages in A. angustifolia. Different from previous reports, only after pollination, pre-fertilization tissue development occurs (0–13 months after pollination (MAP)) and gives rise to a mature megagametophyte. During all this period, pollen is in a dormant state at the microphyla, and pollen tube germination in nucellus tissue is only observed at the stage of archegonia formation (13 MAP) and not at the free nuclei stage as reported before. For the first time, 14 months after pollination, a fertilization window was indicated, and at 15 MAP, the polyzygotic polyembryony from different archegonia was also seen. After that, subordinated proembryo regression occurs and at least three embryonic developmental stages of dominant embryo were characterized: proembryogenic, early embryogenic, and late embryogenic (15–23 MAP). Along these stages, histochemical and ultrastructural analyses suggest the occurrence of cell death in suspensor and in cap cells of dominant embryo that was not previously reported. The differentiation of meristems, procambium, pith, and cortex tissues in late embryogenic stage was detailed. The morphohistological characterization of pre-fertilization and embryonic stages, together with the timescale of megastrobili development, warranted a referential map of female reproductive structure in this species.


Archegonium Cell death Conifers Megasporocyte Polyembryogenesis Syngamy 



Coomassie brilliant blue


Confocal laser scanning microscopy


4′,6-Diamidino-2-phenylindole dihydrochloride


Light microscopy


Month(s) after pollination


Nuclear pores


Periodic acid-Schiff


Propidium iodide


Plastolysome-like structure


Root apical meristem


Shoot apical meristem


Toluidine blue


Transmission electron microscopy


Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labelling



The authors acknowledge the staff of the Laboratório Central de Microscopia Eletronica (LCME) of the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Santa Catarina, Brasil. The authors also acknowledge Leandro Fuck Camargo and Leandro Dill for providing the immature seeds. This study was supported by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq, Brazil) Proc. No (311156/2017-7 457940/2014-0), Fundação de Apoio à Pesquisa Cientifica e Inovação Tecnológica do Estado de Santa Catarina (FAPESC), and Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel-Brazil (CAPES).

Compliance with ethical standards

This manuscript has not been published and is not under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Conflict of interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant Physiology Laboratory, Department of BotanyFederal University of Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil
  2. 2.Biological Sciences DepartmentUniversity of Joinville RegionJoinvilleBrazil
  3. 3.Central Laboratory of Electron MicroscopyFederal University of Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil
  4. 4.Plant Developmental Physiology and Genetics Laboratory, Department of Plant ScienceFederal University of Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil
  5. 5.Graduate Program in Agricultural and Natural EcosystemsFederal University of Santa CatarinaCuritibanosBrazil

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