Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why Poppies Have One Flower Per Stalk and Tomatoes Have Many

Date:
November 25, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Why do poppies and sunflowers grow as a single flower per stalk while each stem of a tomato plant has several branches, each carrying flowers? Botanists have identified a genetic mechanism that determines the pattern of flower growth in the Solanaceae family of plants that includes tomato, potato, pepper, eggplant, tobacco, petunia and deadly nightshades.

Why do poppies and sunflowers grow as a single flower per stalk while each stem of a tomato plant has several branches, each carrying flowers?
Credit: iStockphoto/Tobias Helbig

Why do poppies and sunflowers grow as a single flower per stalk while each stem of a tomato plant has several branches, each carrying flowers? Dr. Zachary Lippman and colleagues have identifed a genetic mechanism that determines the pattern of flower growth in the Solanaceae (nightshade) family of plants that includes tomato, potato, pepper, eggplant, tobacco, petunia, and deadly nightshades.

Manipulation of the identified pathway can turn the well known tomato vine into a highly branched structure with hundreds of flower-bearing shoots, and may thereby result in increased crop yields.

While the development of individual flowers is well understood, the molecular mechanisms that determine the architecture of inflorescences - flower-bearing shoots - are not. The way that inflorescences branch determines the number and distribution of flowers; in peppers (capsicum) inflorescences do not branch, so flowers are singular; in tomatoes, inflorescence branching is repetitive and regular, forming a zigzagged vine The tomato mutants anantha (an) and compound inflorescence (s) have long been known to produce large numbers of branches and flowers, and the new work elucidates the underlying genetics.

Dr. Lippman, and a team of researchers drawn from three institutions in Israel, investigated inflorescence branching by studying these mutant tomato plants. They identified the genes responsible: the anantha (AN) and compound inflorescence (S) genes. S is a member of the well known homeobox gene family, which plays a crucial regulatory role in patterning both animals and plants. Lippman et al. have shown that manipulation of these genes in tomato plants can dramatically alter the architecture and number of inflorescences, and that altered activity of AN in pepper plants can stimulate branching. Variation in S also explains the branching variation seen in domestically grown tomato strains.

The two genes work in sequence to regulate the timing of development of a branch and a flower – so, for example, slowing down the pathway that makes a flower allows for additional branches to grow. While this study by Lippman et al. focuses on variations in particular nightshades, the insight leads to a new understanding of how many plants, such as trees, control their potential to branch.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lippman et al. The Making of a Compound Inflorescence in Tomato and Related Nightshades. PLoS Biology, 2008; 6 (11): e288 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060288

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Why Poppies Have One Flower Per Stalk and Tomatoes Have Many." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081117203839.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, November 25). Why Poppies Have One Flower Per Stalk and Tomatoes Have Many. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081117203839.htm
Public Library of Science. "Why Poppies Have One Flower Per Stalk and Tomatoes Have Many." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081117203839.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins