COST Action FA1406 (2015-2019)

Working Group 2: Reproduction and initiation of new generations

WG2: Reproduction and initiation of new generation

Defining mechanisms of fertilisation and embryogenesis

Leader : Prof Olivier De Clerck (BE) Vice-leader: Dr Aschwin Engelen (PT)


Correct embryonic development depends on gamete fusion and the sensing of environmental cues. The chemical and molecular factors involved in male and female gamete chemotaxis and fusion (pheromone secretion, cell surface recognition) are unknown in most seaweed species. Their identification will enable better control of the cross-fertilisation necessary to produce genetically improved seaweed strains. Parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction without fertilization characteristic for certain seaweeds) will also be explored as a way of maintaining and propagating strains of interest selected by cross-breeding. Knowledge of the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in embryogenesis will allow control of seaweed germination, polarisation, and early development, and will help guide the development of embryonic cryopreservation techniques for cross-bred strains. Finally, the factors involved in vegetative reproduction (e.g. fragmentation of seaweed blades in ship ballast).