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Plant Physiol. 2004 Jun;135(2):622-9.

Arabidopsis to rice. Applying knowledge from a weed to enhance our understanding of a crop species.

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The Institute for Genomic Research, Rockville, Maryland 20850, USA.


Although Arabidopsis is well established as the premiere model species in plant biology, rice (Oryza sativa) is moving up fast as the second-best model organism. In addition to the availability of large sets of genetic, molecular, and genomic resources, two features make rice attractive as a model species: it represents the taxonomically distinct monocots and is a crop species. Plant structural genomics was pioneered on a genome-scale in Arabidopsis and the lessons learned from these efforts were not lost on rice. Indeed, the sequence and annotation of the rice genome has been greatly accelerated by method improvements made in Arabidopsis. For example, the value of full-length cDNA clones and deep expressed sequence tag resources, obtained in Arabidopsis primarily after release of the complete genome, has been recognized by the rice genomics community. For rice >250,000 expressed sequence tags and 28,000 full-length cDNA sequences are available prior to the completion of the genome sequence. With respect to tools for Arabidopsis functional genomics, deep sequence-tagged lines, inexpensive spotted oligonucleotide arrays, and a near-complete whole genome Affymetrix array are publicly available. The development of similar functional genomics resources for rice is in progress that for the most part has been more streamlined based on lessons learned from Arabidopsis. Genomic resource development has been essential to set the stage for hypothesis-driven research, and Arabidopsis continues to provide paradigms for testing in rice to assess function across taxonomic divisions and in a crop species.

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