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Meiosis is a central event of genetic inheritance, since it generates a new gene combination different from that of parents by homologous recombination. Meiocytes of angiosperm species are produced by several rounds of mitotic division of primordial germ cells, which differentiate at hypodermis of anther (male) and pistil (female) primordia. How do plants differentiate and maintain germ cells subsequent to floral development, and how do they achieve meiosis? We aim to settle these questions by means of various techniques from cytological observation to molecular level analyses, mainly using rice mutants.

  • Analyses of causal genes for seed-sterile mutation
  • Analyses of small RNA pathways promoting germ-cell development and meiosis
  • Studies on the mechanisms controlling transition from mitosis to meiosis
  • Ex situ conservation and distribution of wild rice accessions, and the use of them for genetic and evolutionary researches on reproductive events

We have performed functional analyses of genetic mechanisms promoting early germ-cell development and meiosis in plants, using seed-sterile mutants of rice.


Nonomura, K.I., Eiguchi, M., Nakano, M., Takashima, K., Komeda, N., Fukuchi, S., Miyazaki, S., Miyao, A., Hirochika, H. and Kurata, N. (2011). A novel RNA-recognitionmotifprotein is required for premeiotic G1/S-phase transition in rice (Oryza sativa L. ). PLoS Genet. 7 , e1001265 (PMID: 21253568).

Yamaki, S., Nagato ,Y., Kurata, N. and Nonomura, K.I. (2011). Ovule is a lateral organ finally differentiated from the terminating floral meristem in rice. Dev. Biol. 351, 208-216.

Nonomura, K.I., Morohoshi, A., Nakano, M., Eiguchi, M., Miyao, A., Hirochika, H., and Kurata, N. (2007). A germ cell-specific gene of ARGONAUTE family is essential for the progression of premeiotic mitosis and meiosis during sporogenesis in rice. Plant Cell 19 , 2583- 2594.