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Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2009;60:261-77. doi: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.043008.092051.

Aquilegia: a new model for plant development, ecology, and evolution.

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Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.


The lower eudicot genus Aquilegia holds enormous potential for investigating aspects of development, ecology, and evolution that are otherwise unrepresented among existing model systems. Its evolutionary history is of particular interest because it represents a phylogenetic midpoint between models such as Arabidopsis and Oryza but, at the same time, has experienced a recent adaptive radiation within the genus. To take advantage of these features, a collaborative group has developed a number of genetic and genomic resources for Aquilegia that have facilitated the study of its distinct morphology. This work has demonstrated that although the petaloid sepals of Aquilegia do not depend on B-class genes for their identity, these loci do control development of the petals, stamens, and novel staminodium. Overall, Aquilegia stands as a key example of the potential utility and speed of developing new genetic model systems.

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