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Trends Plant Sci. 2007 Aug;12(8):358-67. Epub 2007 Jul 19.

The floral genome: an evolutionary history of gene duplication and shifting patterns of gene expression.

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Department of Botany and the Genetics Institute, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.


Through multifaceted genome-scale research involving phylogenomics, targeted gene surveys, and gene expression analyses in diverse basal lineages of angiosperms, our studies provide insights into the most recent common ancestor of all extant flowering plants. MADS-box gene duplications have played an important role in the origin and diversification of angiosperms. Furthermore, early angiosperms possessed a diverse tool kit of floral genes and exhibited developmental 'flexibility', with broader patterns of expression of key floral organ identity genes than are found in eudicots. In particular, homologs of B-function MADS-box genes are more broadly expressed across the floral meristem in basal lineages. These results prompted formulation of the 'fading borders' model, which states that the gradual transitions in floral organ morphology observed in some basal angiosperms (e.g. Amborella) result from a gradient in the level of expression of floral organ identity genes across the developing floral meristem.

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