The fusion of carpels into a unified compound gynoecium is considered a dominant feature of angiosperm evolution and it also occurs by postgenital fusion during the gynoecium development in some apocarpous species. However, we found the reverse process, the separation of carpels from combined carpel primordia, during the development of the gynoecium in Phytolacca. Semithin sectioning and scanning electron microscopy were utilised to observe the structure and development of the gynoecia in Phytolacca acinosa and Phytolacca americana, fluorescence microscopy was utilised to observe the pollen tube growth in the gynoecia of the two species, and the topology method was applied to analyze the relationship between the gynoecium structure and pollen tube pathway. Although the gynoecia of P. acinosa and P. americana are both syncarpous, the degree of carpel fusion in the mature gynoecia of the two syncarpous species is different as a result of variant developmental processes. However, change in the degree of carpel fusion during the development of gynoecia in Phytolacca does not affect pollen tube growth because of the existence of the extragynoecial pollen-tube pathway. Thus, the change in the degree of carpel fusion in Phytolacca is primarily the result of diversification of developmental processes related to selection pressure.
Plant Systematics and Evolution – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 6, 2018
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