The last decade has seen tremendous progress in our knowledge of the pollen development and gene expression on one hand and the characterization of pollen specific proteins on the other. In compiling the chapters for this volume, we have pragmatically categorized these basic developments in pollen molecular biology and biotechnology into two sections based on their applications in agricul ture and implications in medicine. Pollen developmental biology and gene expression: applications in agricul ture. Pollen development is an extremely complex process encompassing a series of biochemical, physiological and genetic events. At the basic level, sporophyt ically expressed genes may expound our knowledge of unique processes of cellular differentiation which ultimately give rise to a full-fledged organism. At the applied level, the studies on the pollen and male sporophyte-specific gene expression, and of promoters and transcription factors of relevant genes have the potential to manipulate the fertility in certain cash crops leading to agricultural biotechnology.
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