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Nelson Bittencourt, Jr.
Nelson Bittencourt, Jr.
Department of Zoology and Botany
Sao Paulo State University

Research Interests:

My research interests are focused in the embryology and breeding systems of the angiosperms, with a special interest in the reproductive biology of Bignoniaceae. The main focus of my research procedures have been on the use of histology and other methods in plant embryology to investigate the phenomenon of late-acting self-incompatibility (LSI), which have proven to be the most common breeding system in the Bignoniaceae. LSI is a genetic system that prevents self-pollinated pistils to set fruits, despite self pollen tubes reaching the ovary and penetrating most of the ovules. My own studies have shown that self-incompatible species in Bignoniaceae usually presents a null or almost null fruit-set by self-pollination, and an uniform abortion of these pistils typically occurs in a short period after self-pollination despite showing an extended longevity in relation to non-pollinated pistils. My work aims to compare the post-pollination events in selfed vs. crossed pistils in order to elucidate the incompatibility reaction and pistil rejection features in LSI species.

Since recent studies have shown the co-occurrence of self-fertility and polyembryony in some species of Handroanthus and other genera, I also have a strong interest in the origin of the apomixis phenomenon in Bignoniaceae.