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Contact: Graeme Baldwin
graeme.baldwin@biomedcentral.com
44-203-192-2165
BioMed Central

Genetics in bloom

IMAGE: This is a Gerbera plant.

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Some of the molecular machinery that governs flower formation has been uncovered in the daisy-like Gerbera plants. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Plant Biology have published a pair of articles detailing how the complex Gerbera inflorescence is formed and how this process differs from other model plants, such as the more simple flowers of Arabidopsis species.

Teemu Teeri, from the University of Helsinki, Finland, worked with a team of researchers to carry out the studies. He said, "Gerbera, a member of the sunflower family, bears compressed inflorescence heads with three different flower types characterized by differences in both sex and floral symmetry. To understand how such a complex inflorescence structure is achieved at the molecular level, we have characterized the array of Gerbera MADS box genes".

The researchers analyzed the expression and evolutionary relationships of six Gerbera genes (GSQUA1-6) that are closely related to flower architecture genes in other model species. It seems that this group of genes has expanded in the daisy plant family probably reflecting new functions for these genes in the formation of the complex Gerbera inflorescence. Teeri said, "Our data indicate that none of the GSQUA genes are, by themselves, likely to play a role in defining floral organ identity in the sense of the 'A' function of the floral ABC model. Based on these results, Gerbera can be added to the growing list of plant species that lack the 'A' function comparable to Arabidopsis".

These findings not only inform our understanding of the complex floral structures of the daisy family but will also be essential in order to optimize growth and production of related crops such as sunflowers.

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Notes to Editors

1. Characterization of SQUAMOSA-like genes in Gerbera hybrida, including one involved in reproductive transition
Satu Ruokolainen, Yan Peng Ng, Suvi K Broholm, Victor A Albert, Paula Elomaa and Teemu H Teeri
BMC Plant Biology (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/imedia/1911158232319090_article.pdf?random=188002

After the embargo, article available at the journal website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcplantbiol/

Large scale interaction analysis predicts that the Gerbera hybrida floral E function is provided both by general and specialized proteins
Satu Ruokolainen, Yan Peng Ng, Victor A Albert, Paula Elomaa and Teemu H Teeri
BMC Plant Biology (in press)

During embargo, article available here: http://www.biomedcentral.com/imedia/6820385583191103_article.pdf?random=290334

After the embargo, article available at the journal website: http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcplantbiol/

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citations and URLs available on request at press@biomedcentral.com on the day of publication.

2. A picture of one of the Gerbera plants studied in this research is available here:

http://www.biomedcentral.com/graphics/email/images/Gerbera.jpg

More pictures are available on request.

3. BMC Plant Biology is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in all aspects of plant biology, including molecular, cellular, tissue, organ and whole organism research. BMC Plant Biology (ISSN 1471-2229) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, BIOSIS, CAS, EMBASE, Scopus, Agricola, FSTA, CABI, Thomson Reuters (ISI) and Google Scholar.

4. BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com/) is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector.



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