Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 July 2016
We briefly review the history of the search for progenitors of planetary nebulae starting with Shklovsky's (1956) paper. The inner structure of AGB stars (the likely progenitors) is sketched. The (l, b) distributions and the (l, V) distributions (V is the centre of mass radial velocity) of OH/IR stars and of planetary nebulae are compared; it is concluded that, grosso modo, both types of objects belong to the same galactic population and that most OH/IR stars develop ultimately into planetary nebulae. From a comparison of the properties of OH/IR stars and of Mira variables it is concluded that both are AGB stars with the OH/IR stars having developed from Mira variables. Most OH/IR stars are long period variables but the few that are not are probably transition cases -no longer AGB stars and very early planetary nebulae. It is argued that the IRAS catalog contains a large number of AGB stars without (detected) OH maser emission, but otherwise similar to OH/IR stars. An evolutionary sequence is presented from Mira's to oxygen-rich planetary nebulae. Some speculations are added on the formation of carbon stars and carbon-rich planetary nebulae.