Plenary Symposium: New Directions in Molecular and Organismal Botany
Kellogg, Elizabeth .
Lessons from comparative studies of gene expression.
EVOLUTIONARY change in the form of plants reflects changes in the identity and expression pattern of genes. Genes controlling various aspects of morphogenesis are being cloned rapidly from multiple organisms, opening the possibility of understanding how they have been deployed among morphologically disparate species. Gene expression studies permit reassessment of old morphological problems, and often provide information on why the problem may have arisen in the first place. For example, bracts in the "spikelet equivalent" of Streptochaeta have gene expression patterns that are similar to those of glumes, lemmas, paleas, and lodicules of conventional grasses, despite being morphologically quite different. The various transcription factors that control morphogenesis thus appear to define conserved domains of the floral axis, even though the downstream genes in those domains may vary. Other investigations of gene expression identify novel morphological structures. For example, many of the genes that control the architecture of the inflorescence are expressed, not in meristems, but rather in a boundary domain at the base of the inflorescence branch. These and other examples indicate the importance of gene expression studies for understanding comparative morphology.
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1 - University of Missouri-St. Louis, Department of Biology, One University Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri, 63121, USA
Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Date: Monday, July 31st, 2006
Time: 11:00 AM