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Plant Cell. 1989 Jan;1(1):37-52.

Genes directing flower development in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena 91125.


We describe the effects of four recessive homeotic mutations that specifically disrupt the development of flowers in Arabidopsis thaliana. Each of the recessive mutations affects the outcome of organ development, but not the location of organ primordia. Homeotic transformations observed are as follows. In agamous-1, stamens to petals; in apetala2-1, sepals to leaves and petals to staminoid petals; in apetala3-1, petals to sepals and stamens to carpels; in pistillata-1, petals to sepals. In addition, two of these mutations (ap2-1 and pi-1) result in loss of organs, and ag-1 causes the cells that would ordinarily form the gynoecium to differentiate as a flower. Two of the mutations are temperature-sensitive. Temperature shift experiments indicate that the wild-type AP2 gene product acts at the time of primordium initiation; the AP3 product is active later. It seems that the wild-type alleles of these four genes allow cells to determine their place in the developing flower and thus to differentiate appropriately. We propose that these genes may be involved in setting up or responding to concentric, overlapping fields within the flower primordium.

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