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Pollen grains: male germ cells in plants and a cause of seasonal allergies

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Edna, Gil and Amit Cukierman, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

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Pollen grains 

Those of us who get sneezy and itchy-eyed every spring or fall may have pollen grains, like those shown here, to blame. Pollen grains are the male germ cells of plants, released to fertilize the corresponding female plant parts. When they are instead inhaled into human nasal passages, they can trigger allergies.

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This page last reviewed on July 28, 2016