Genetic and Epigenetic Regulation of Meiotic Fate Decision and Gametophyte Specification in Rice

  • Ken-Ichi Nonomura
  • Seijiro Ono
  • Kenji Ueda


The life cycle of sexual organisms is achieved through repeated rounds of fertilization and meiosis. After premeiotic DNA replication, plant meiosis produces four haploid spores by two sequential cell divisions without DNA replication. In most model organisms, including rice, the homologous chromosome pair is separated to opposite poles during meiosis I, and sister chromatids are separated during meiosis II. In animals, meiotic products directly mature into gametes, namely, sperms and eggs. In contrast, meiosis of land plants produces spores that undergo further somatic cell division and eventually form a multicellular haploid body containing sperms or eggs. In other words, land plants have two distinct multicellular bodies, sporophytic diploid and gametophytic haploid bodies. This type of reproductive mode is called alternation of generations and is commonly found in all land plants, some algae and fungi (Graham, Am Sci 73:178–186, 1985). These facts imply that plants have evolved unique genetic systems for reproduction, in addition to systems common to non-plant species. In this chapter, we overview the genetic and epigenetic systems regulating meiosis and gametogenesis and introduce challenges to improve the efficiency of breeding methods in rice (Oryza sativa L.).


Meiosis Reproduction Pollen Tapetum Anther Genetics Epigenetics Asymmetric cell division 



This chapter is dedicated to Prof. Nobuo Iwata (Kyushu University, Japan), who established the fundamentals of genetic maps and cytogenetic methodologies in rice. We are grateful for Dr. Pilar Prieto (CSIC, Spain) for reading the manuscript and for giving critical comments. This work was supported by the JSPS KAKENHI grants: No.25252004, No.15 K14630, No.17H05849 (to K-I.N.), and No. JP26440168 (to K.U.). We apologize to all colleagues who have contributed to the field but could not be cited due to space limitation.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Experimental FarmNational Institute of GeneticsMishimaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Life ScienceGraduate University for Advanced Studies/SOKENDAIMishimaJapan
  3. 3.Department of Biological Production, Faculty of Bioresource SciencesAkita Prefectural UniversityAkitaJapan

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