When and where does reduction division take place in the life cycle of a liverwort, a moss, a fern, a gymnosperm and an angiosperm?
Liverwort – In liverworts, the main plant-body is haploid (gametophytic). It bears the male and female sex organs which produce gametes. These gametes fuse to form a zygote. The zygote develops on the gametophytic plant-body to form a sporophyte. The sporophyte is differentiated into the foot, seta, and capsule. Many haploid spores are produced as a result of the reduction division taking place inside the capsule.
Moss – In mosses, the primary protonema (developed in the first stage) develops into the secondary protonema. Both these stages are haploid or gametophytic. The secondary protonema bears the sex organs which produce gametes. These gametes fuse to form a zygote. The zygote develops into a sporophyte. Many spores are formed as a result of the reduction division taking place in the capsule of this sporophyte.
Fern – In ferns, the main plant-body is sporophytic. Its leaves are known as sporophylls and these bear the sporangia. Reduction division takes place in these sporangia, thereby producing many spores.
Gymnosperm – In gymnosperms, the main plant-body is sporophytic. They bear two types of leaves – microsporophylls and megasporophylls. Reduction division takes place in the microsporangia present on the microsporophylls (producing pollen grains) and on the megasporangia present on the megasporophylls (producing megaspores).
Angiosperm – In angiosperms, the main plant-body is sporophytic and bears flowers. The male sex organ in the flower is the stamen, while the female sex organ is the pistil. Reduction division takes place in the anthers of the stamen (producing haploid pollen grains) and in the ovary of the pistil (producing eggs).
All of these plants show life cycle with one gametophytic (n) generation and one sporophytic (2n) generation. Reduction division or meiosis that produces haploid (n) cells from diploid cells (2n) is necessary in their life cycles to restore gametophyte generation after sporophytic generation. It occurs in different body structures according to the basic body design of these groups. Reduction division in a liverwort and moss takes place at the end of the sporophytic generation, where haploid spores are formed by reduction division of spore mother cell inside capsule. Spores germinate to produce dominant gametophytic generation. Reduction division in fern takes place at the end of the dominant sporophytic generation inside the sporangium from spore mother cell by reduction division. Spores may be of one type (homospory) or of two types (heterospory).
Reduction division in gymnosperms takes place at the end of dominant sporophytic generation. Megaspore and microspores are produced by the reduction division of diploid megaspore mother cell and diploid microspore mother cell respectively, inside megasporangium and microsporangium. Reduction division in angiosperms takes place at the end of dominant sporophytic generation. The haploid pollen grain or microspore and the haploid egg cell are produced by the reduction division of diploid (microspore) mother cell and diploid megaspore mother cell respectively. Microsporic division occurs inside anther and megasporic division occurs inside gynoecium (ovary).
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