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Bioessays. 2005 Jan;27(1):42-9.

Drawing lines and borders: how the dehiscent fruit of Arabidopsis is patterned.

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Division of Biological Sciences, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


The advent of fruits marked a key innovation in the evolution of flowering plants and helped generate a diverse array of mechanisms for seed dispersal. In the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, seed dispersal occurs through a process known as "pod-shatter" in which the fruit structure falls to pieces upon light mechanical pressures. This dispersal mechanism is dependent on the careful patterning of tissues in the fruit, which perform diverse functions that enable the fruit to open at maturation. Using the genetic power of Arabidopsis, many of the molecular components that help specify these tissues have been identified. Studies of the interactions among these genes have revealed a regulatory network that limits processes such as cell-cell separation and lignification to discreet regions of the fruit. Knowledge of these processes in a model fruit creates a foundation on which to build an understanding of the evolution of fruit form in other species and provides tools to engineer shatter-resistant seed pods to prevent crop loss in plants of agronomic importance such as canola.

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