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How do cells find targets? We use pollen tube growth and guidance as a model system to understand the mechanisms of invasive cell growth, guidance of cellular migration, and determination of cellular polarity. We study the fertilization process in flowering plants because the success of this fundamental component of the life cycle depends on a lengthy and precisely guided cellular journey. Flowering plants have immotile sperm that must be delivered to female gametes by a pollen tube: a single cell that extends at remarkable growth rates, penetrates floral tissues and responds to multiple precise and discrete signals that guide its growth (Animation). To understand the molecular mechanisms that mediate fertilization, We’ve taken a genetic approach in Arabidopsis thaliana and have identified a collection of about 30 pollen mutants that define genes involved in each of the critical steps in the pollen tube growth and guidance process.  The major goal of the lab is to understand the functions of these and other genes responsible for plant fertilization.