Genetic Regulation of Meristem Maintenance and Organ Specification in Rice Flower Development

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Molecular genetic studies in Arabidopsis thaliana over the last 15 years have produced a wealth of information that has considerably advanced our understanding of plant development at the molecular level. Among these advances, the ABC model of floral organ specification and the negative feedback model of meristem maintenance constitute milestones in this field (Coen and Meyerowitz 1991; reviewed by Lohmann and Weigel 2002; Bäurle and Laux 2003; Carles and Fletcher 2003; Jack 2004). Since establishment of the ABC model, many genes orthologous to Arabidopsis ABC genes have been isolated in other plant species, and it has been shown that the functions of the ABC genes are conserved in eudicots (Theissen et al. 2000). It is now of great interest to determine whether the genetic regulation of floral organ specification and of meristem maintenance is conserved throughout angiosperms, including monocots and basal angiosperms.