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Mol Cell. 2000 Mar;5(3):569-79.

Molecular and genetic analyses of the silky1 gene reveal conservation in floral organ specification between eudicots and monocots.

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Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0116, USA.


The degree to which the eudicot-based ABC model of flower organ identity applies to the other major subclass of angrosperms, the monocots, has yet to be fully explored. We cloned silky1 (si1), a male sterile mutant of Zea mays that has homeotic conversions of stamens into carpels and lodicules into palea/lemma-like structures. Our studies indicate that si1 is a monocot B function MADS box gene. Moreover, the si1 zag1 double mutant produces a striking spikelet phenotype where normal glumes enclose reiterated palea/lemma-like organs. These studies indicate that B function gene activity is conserved among monocots as well as eudicots. In addition, they provide compelling developmental evidence for recognizing lodicules as modified petals and, possibly, palea and lemma as modified sepals.

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