Flower Power

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Science  24 Oct 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5901, pp. 507
DOI: 10.1126/science.322.5901.507b

Some plants, such as the poppy, form a single flower at the tip of the plant; others, such as the petunia or tomato, also flower at the tip but then generate a new lateral meristem that becomes the new tip, and then makes a new flower and a new meristem, yielding a zig-zag pattern of flowers. Rebocho et al. have identified a gene in petunia called EVERGREEN (EVG), which is required for formation of the new lateral meristem. Mutants deficient in EVG grow normally, but don't zig-zag or flower. EVG is expressed in the apical meristem after the plant matures to the point of flowering, where it promotes the expression of DOUBLETOP (DOT), a transcriptional activator that determines flower formation. The function of EVG seems to be to support the separation of the new meristem as the previous meristem becomes a flower. Analysis of related genes in Arabidopsis suggests that EVG may function to control cell proliferation. — PJH

Dev. Cell 15, 437 (2008).

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