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Cell. 1992 Oct 2;71(1):133-43.

Manipulation of flower structure in transgenic tobacco.

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


Genetic studies suggest that three homeotic functions, designated A, B, and C, act alone and together to specify the fate of floral organ primordia in distantly related dicotyledonous plant species. To test the genetic model, we have generated transgenic tobacco plants that ectopically express the AGAMOUS gene from Brassica napus, which is necessary for the C function. Flowers on the resulting plants showed homeotic transformations of sepals into carpels and petals into stamens. These phenotypes are consistent with predictions from the genetic model, show that expression of AGAMOUS is sufficient to provide ectopic C function, and demonstrate that the structure of flowers can be manipulated in a predictable manner by altering the expression of a single regulatory gene. Furthermore, the generation of the predicted transformations by ectopic expression of the Brassica gene in transgenic tobacco indicates that gene functions are interchangeable between phylogenetically distant species.

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