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Curr Top Dev Biol. 2010;91:323-48. doi: 10.1016/S0070-2153(10)91011-9.

Comparative analysis of flowering in annual and perennial plants.

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Department of Plant Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Cologne, Germany.


In plants the switch from vegetative growth to flowering involves a major transition in the development of the shoot apex. This transition can occur once, in annual species, or repeatedly, in perennial plants. In annuals, flowering is associated with senescence and death of the whole plant, whereas perennials flower in consecutive years and maintain vegetative development after flowering. The perennial life strategy depends on differential behavior of meristems on a single plant so that some remain in the vegetative state while others undergo the floral transition. A. thaliana provides a powerful model system for understanding the mechanisms of flowering in annuals. Here we review the events that occur in the meristem of A. thaliana during the floral transition and compare these with our understanding of flowering in perennial systems.

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