A Homoeotic Mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana with Leafy Cotyledons

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Science  04 Dec 1992:
Vol. 258, Issue 5088, pp. 1647-1650
DOI: 10.1126/science.258.5088.1647


Cotyledons are specialized leaves produced during plant embryogenesis. Cotyledons and leaves typically differ in morphology, ultrastructure, and patterns of gene expression. The leafy cotyledon (Iec) mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana fails to maintain this distinction between embryonic and vegetative patterns of plant development. Mutant embryos are phenotypically abnormal, occasionally viviparous, and intolerant of desiccation. Mutant cotyledons produce trichomes characteristic of leaves, lack embryo-specific protein bodies, and exhibit a vascular pattern intermediate between that of leaves and cotyledons. These results suggest that lec cotyledons are partially transformed into leaves and that the wild-type gene (LEC) functions to activate a wide range of embryo-specific pathways in higher plants.

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