Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 123, Issue 2, pp 201–206 | Cite as

Why does biparental plastid inheritance revive in angiosperms?

  • Quan Zhang
  • SodmergenEmail author
JPR Symposium Cytoplasmic inheritance


It is widely believed that plastid and mitochondrial genomes are inherited through the maternal parent. In plants, however, paternal transmission of these genomes is frequently observed, especially for the plastid genome. A male gametic trait, called potential biparental plastid inheritance (PBPI), occurs in up to 20% of angiosperm genera, implying a strong tendency for plastid transmission from the male lineage. Why do plants receive organelles from the male parents? Are there clues in plastids that will help to elucidate the evolution of plants? Reconstruction of the ancestral state of plastid inheritance patterns in a phylogenetic context provides insights into these questions. In particular, a recent report demonstrated the unilateral occurrence of PBPI in angiosperms. This result implies that nuclear cytoplasmic conflicts, a basic driving force for altering the mode of organelle inheritance, might have arisen specifically in angiosperms. Based on existing evidence, it is likely that biparental inheritance may have occurred to rescue angiosperm species with defective plastids.


Angiosperm Biparental inheritance Evolution Maternal inheritance Plastid 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Creative Research Group Program, no. 30421004; Key Program, no. 30430040) and the National Basic Research Program of China (Program 973, no. 2007CB108700).


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Cell Proliferation and Differentiation (Ministry of Education), College of Life SciencePeking UniversityBeijingChina

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