, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 1147-1160

CaMADS1, a MADS box gene expressed in the carpel of hazelnut

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Hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) is a species of economic interest that shows a peculiar floral biology. Unlike most of the angiosperms, which produce ovules during floral development such that they are ready for pollen at anthesis, hazelnut ovary development is delayed and triggered by compatible pollination. In order to elucidate the mechanisms regulating this unusual process and the role of the MADS box genes in ovary development, a cDNA library from pollinated styles of hazelnut was screened with a mixture of MADS box genes from different plant species. CaMADS1 (Corylus avellana MADS box), a floral-specific MADS box gene, was isolated, and characterized as belonging to the sub-family of the AGAMOUS genes. Northern blot, RT-PCR analyses and in situ hybridization experiments show a precise correlation between ovary development and CaMADS1 expression, indicating a role of this MADS box gene in the processes of floral organogenesis.