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Genetics in bloom

Date:
June 24, 2010
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Some of the molecular machinery that governs flower formation has been uncovered in the daisy-like Gerbera plants. Researchers have published a pair of articles detailing how the complex Gerbera inflorescence is formed and how this process differs from other model plants, such as the more simple flowers of Arabidopsis species.
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One of the Gerbera plants studied in this research.
Credit: Image courtesy of BioMed Central

Some of the molecular machinery that governs flower formation has been uncovered in the daisy-like Gerbera plants. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Plant Biology have published a pair of articles detailing how the complex Gerbera inflorescence is formed and how this process differs from other model plants, such as the more simple flowers of Arabidopsis species.

Teemu Teeri, from the University of Helsinki, Finland, worked with a team of researchers to carry out the studies. He said, "Gerbera, a member of the sunflower family, bears compressed inflorescence heads with three different flower types characterized by differences in both sex and floral symmetry. To understand how such a complex inflorescence structure is achieved at the molecular level, we have characterized the array of Gerbera MADS box genes."

The researchers analyzed the expression and evolutionary relationships of six Gerbera genes (GSQUA1-6) that are closely related to flower architecture genes in other model species. It seems that this group of genes has expanded in the daisy plant family probably reflecting new functions for these genes in the formation of the complex Gerbera inflorescence. Teeri said, "Our data indicate that none of the GSQUA genes are, by themselves, likely to play a role in defining floral organ identity in the sense of the 'A' function of the floral ABC model. Based on these results, Gerbera can be added to the growing list of plant species that lack the 'A' function comparable to Arabidopsis."

These findings not only inform our understanding of the complex floral structures of the daisy family but will also be essential in order to optimize growth and production of related crops such as sunflowers.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Satu Ruokolainen, Yan Peng Ng, Suvi K Broholm, Victor A Albert, Paula Elomaa and Teemu H Teeri. Characterization of SQUAMOSA-like genes in Gerbera hybrida, including one involved in reproductive transition. BMC Plant Biology, 2010; (in press) [link]
  2. Satu Ruokolainen, Yan Peng Ng, Victor A Albert, Paula Elomaa and Teemu H Teeri. Large scale interaction analysis predicts that the Gerbera hybrida floral E function is provided both by general and specialized proteins. BMC Plant Biology, 2010; (in press) [link]

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BioMed Central. "Genetics in bloom." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100624214310.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2010, June 24). Genetics in bloom. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100624214310.htm
BioMed Central. "Genetics in bloom." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100624214310.htm (accessed July 1, 2015).

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