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Trace the development of a megaspore mother cell to the formation of mature embryo sac in a flowering plant.



Trace the development of a megaspore mother cell to the formation of mature embryo sac in a flowering plant.

The process of formation of megaspores from the megaspore mother cell is called megasporogenesis.

  1. Ovules generally differentiate a single megaspore mother cell (MMC) in the micropylar region of the nucellus. It is a large cell containing dense cytoplasm and a prominent nucleus. The MMC undergoes meiotic division to form megaspores.
  2. In a majority of flowering plants, one of the megaspores is functional while the other three degenerate. Only the functional megaspore develops into the female gametophyte (embryo sac). This method of embryo sac formation from a single megaspore is termed monosporic development.
  3. The nucleus of the functional megaspore divides mitotically to form two nuclei which move to the opposite poles, forming the 2-nucleate embryo sac.
  4. Two more sequential mitotic nuclear divisions result in the formation of the 4-nucleate and later the 8-nucleate stages of the embryo sac.
  5. These mitotic divisions are strictly free nuclear, that is, nuclear divisions are not followed immediately by cell wall formation.
  6. After the 8-nucleate stage, cell walls are laid down leading to the organisation of the typical female gametophyte or embryo sac.
  7. Six of the eight nuclei are surrounded by cell walls and organised into cells; the remaining two nuclei, called polar nuclei are situated in the large central cell.
  8. Three cells are grouped together at the micropylar end and constitute the egg apparatus. The egg apparatus, in turn, consists of two synergids and one egg cell. The synergids have special cellular thickenings at the micropylar tip called filiform apparatus.
  9. Three cells are at the chalazal end and are called the antipodals.
  10. The large central cell, as mentioned earlier, has two polar nuclei. Which come to lie below egg apparatus. Thus, a typical angiosperm embryo sac, at maturity, though 8-nucleate is 7-celled.

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