The development of the inflorescence, microspores and anthesis were well synchronized among individuals or in the panicles of barley under controlled environmental conditions. To study the effects of high-temperature stress on the development of pollen mother cells (PMCs) and microspores, the plants were subjected to high temperature treatment at different stages of reproductive growth. When plants were exposed to high temperature for five days at the early differentiation stage of the panicle, pollen grains had apparently normal exine but no or little cytoplasm. At the pre-meiotic stage of PMCs, high temperature caused subsequent development of short anthers possessing no pollen grains. When plants were exposed to high temperature during meiosis of PMCs, all pollen grains possessed exine and were swollen but showed little starch accumulation. In these plants treated at high temperature, the panicles at the heading stage had a normal appearance, but their seeds were virtually sterile. These results indicated that there are at least three stages of reproductive growth hypersensitive to high temperature, which resulted in abnormal terminal phenotypes different from one another.
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