This past year, a record amount of domestic legislation has targeted women’s access to abortion and birth control, sometimes with lawmakers citing the sacred nature of every zygote. (You may have heard about this.) In response to this flood of anti-reproductive-rights lawmaking, a few legislators submitted amendments of their own. These amendments have attempted to level the playing field by stating that, in addition to eggs, every sperm must be considered sacred. According to a journal article in Current Biology – and disseminated by Science Magazine – flowers are also mindful of waste when it comes to pollen, otherwise known as plant sperm.
While each reproductive cell in a flower is fertilized by only one sperm cell, pollen is delivered at a much higher rate, usually on the heels of honeybees. This is where flowers appear to be taking a cue from our lawmakers. According to the Science article, “if more than one pollen grain heads for the same reproductive cell… it could mean that others will go unfertilized.” To avoid wasting sperm, flowers appear to turn off their signals attracting sperm to cells that have already been fertilized to most efficiently allocate resources.
Maybe conservatives haven’t heard the call for equality in reproductive rights, but at least the flowers were listening.