Genetics in bloom

Jun 24, 2010
This is a Gerbera plant. Credit: Teeri et al., BMC Plant Biology

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 ".

The researchers analyzed the expression and 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 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.

Explore further: Heaven scent: Finding may help restore fragrance to roses

More information: Characterization of SQUAMOSA-like genes in Gerbera hybrida, including one involved in reproductive transition, Satu Ruokolainen, Yan Peng Ng, Suvi K Broholm, Victor A Albert, Paula Elomaa and Teemu H Teeri, BMC Plant Biology (in press), www.biomedcentral.com/bmcplantbiol/

Related Stories

A big bunch of tomatoes?

Nov 18, 2008

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? In a new study, published in this week's issue of the open access journal PLoS Bi ...

How the daisy got its spots... and why

Dec 18, 2009

Dark spots on flower petals are common across many angiosperm plant families and occur on flowers such as some lilies, orchids, and daisies. Much research has been done on the physiological and behavioral ...

A novel explanation for a floral genetic mystery

Jan 16, 2009

Scientists at the University of Jena, Germany have put forth a novel explanation of the evolutionary driving force behind a genetic switching circuit that regulates flower development and survival. The hypothesis, based around ...

How to build a plant

Jun 26, 2008

Dr. Sarah Hake and her colleagues, George Chuck, Hector Candela-Anton, Nathalie Bolduc, Jihyun Moon, Devin O'Connor, China Lunde, and Beth Thompson, have taken advantage of the information from sequenced grass genomes to ...

A small leak will sink a great ship

Jun 26, 2007

During flowering four different types of floral organs need to be formed: sepals, which protect the inner organs; the frequently ornamental petals; stamens, which produce pollen and the carpels. This process ...

Recommended for you

Study on pesticides in lab rat feed causes a stir

Jul 02, 2015

French scientists published evidence Thursday of pesticide contamination of lab rat feed which they said discredited historic toxicity studies, though commentators questioned the analysis.

International consortium to study plant fertility evolution

Jul 02, 2015

Mark Johnson, associate professor of biology, has joined a consortium of seven other researchers in four European countries to develop the fullest understanding yet of how fertilization evolved in flowering plants. The research, ...

Making the biofuels process safer for microbes

Jul 02, 2015

A team of investigators at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University have created a process for making the work environment less toxic—literally—for the organisms that do the heavy ...

Why GM food is so hard to sell to a wary public

Jul 02, 2015

Whether commanding the attention of rock star Neil Young or apparently being supported by the former head of Greenpeace, genetically modified food is almost always in the news – and often in a negative ...

The hidden treasure in RNA-seq

Jul 01, 2015

Michael Stadler and his team at the Friedrich Miescher institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) have developed a novel computational approach to analyze RNA-seq data. By comparing intronic and exonic RNA reads, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.