Mentor Pollen Technology
Pollination is a natural phenomenon which occurs in many plant species. However, there are certain plants where pollen grains remain viable but unable to set seed on its own pistil i.e. they are self incompatible. Similarly, in several other plants, besides being viable they even fail to germinate on stigmas of another species i.e. they are interspecific incompatible.
After the birth of recent mentor pollen technology the incompatibility problem of pollen grains can be overcome by altering the fertilization ability. The pollen which has been purposefully treated is called mentor pollen. Hence, the mentor pollen may be defined as the compatible pollen which has been treated in many ways to inhibit its fertilization ability and retain its power to stimulate incompatible pollen to accomplish fertilization. The mentor pollen itself may or may not germinate on stigmas. As a result of this treatment, hybridization between closely related species or genera, and itself pollination in cross-pollinating plants could be achieved. Knox et al. (1987) have reviewed the mentor pollen technology and suggested its benefits as a tool in plant biotechnology. The advantages that it offers are : (i) transfer of specific genes required in a breeding strategy through seeds, (ii) quantification of its effects, and (iii) understanding the pollen-stigma recognition.