Zygotic genome activation occurs shortly after fertilization in maize

A plant’s life begins with the fusion of haploid egg and sperm cells to produce a diploid zygote. Many of the processes that control early development are under the control of the maternal genome, but at some point there is a shift towards zygotic control. Chen et al. investigated when this shift occurs through transcriptomic analysis of RNA isolated from sperm cells, egg cells, and zygotes at different times after fertilization. They conclude that zygote genome activation occurs shortly after fertilization in maize, and also provide valuable RNA-Seq datasets for use by the community. Plant Cell 10.1105/tpc.17.00099