During their life cycle, plants alternate between haploid gametophytes -male pollen grains and female embryo sacs - and diploid sporophytes, the flowering plants in angiosperms. Until now, the genes and pathways involved in gametophyte formation in flowering plants have been largely unknown. On p. 603, Pagnussat and colleagues remedy this situation by identifying by sequence numerous genes involved in female gametophyte development and function in Arabidopsis. In a large-scale screen of Ds transposon insertion lines, the researchers identify 130 Arabidopsis mutants with defects in embryo sac formation, fertilisation, early embryo development and other aspects of female gametophyte development and function. This comprehensive overview of the genes involved in female gametophyte production and function, which uncovered an unexpectedly large number of genes that are maternally required for embryonic development, will facilitate future studies into the pathways involved in flowering plant reproduction.