Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Size and positioning of floral anthers facilitates

11.07.2007
Decoding the evolution of flowers: From genomes to petals

Unlike moths and butterflies that are often brilliantly colored to warn potential predators that they carry toxins, flowers and the fruits they produce have brilliant colors and unusual shapes because they want to attract the attention of pollinators and frugivores who will disperse their pollen and seed, thus guaranteeing the next generation.

In their work, Dr. Endress and his colleagues found that the sizes and positioning of the anthers facilitates pollen collection by buzz-pollinating bees. The male floral structures, anthers, release the pollen gradually, like tiny gumball dispensers. All of these characteristics--size, shape, placement, and timing—may be controlled by networks of genes as well as by regulatory sequences that do not encode proteins. Slight changes in these networks or in the non-coding sequences can change the developmental pattern of a flower and thus its morphology—either dooming it if its pollinators can no longer “fit” properly or guaranteeing the success of the species if it acquires new pollinators. This type of information is becoming ever more critical as we struggle to understand, maintain, and modify the plant and pollinator systems that we depend on for life.

Evo-Devo, or the linking of evolution and development is a shift in the paradigm of how organisms evolved and diversified. In a symposium at the joint annual meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists and the Botanical Society of America (July 7-11), Dr. Peter Endress of the Institute of Systematic Botany at the University of Zurich will present his work on the functional architecture of flowers and the role of development in floral evolution.

... more about:
»Endress »Pollen »anthers »diversity »floral »pollinator

Charles Darwin, who observed closely the productions of breeders of pigeons, dogs, and flowers, understood that explaining the evolution and diversity of living organisms, from mosses to elephants, would require an understanding of development. In his presentation at a joint ASPB and BSA symposium on evolutionary development at the annual meeting in Chicago (July 9, 2007, 2PM) Dr. Peter Endress will address the need to compare developmental patterns across many taxa of flowering plants to gain insight into flower evolution. In a study reported in the International Journal of Plant Science, Dr. Endress and his coauthors Brigitte Marazzi and Elena Conti, compared floral structures across numerous species of the genus Senna in the pea family. These flowers are specialized to be pollinated by bees that release the pollen through vibrations caused by their buzzing. Endress and his coworkers found a diversity of floral structures that may represent different strategies for pollen dispersal, even in the same genus.

The diversification of flowering plants on earth about 130 million years ago had a profound effect on the evolution of many other kinds of organisms like insects, birds, and mammals, who became the pollinators and consumers of those plants, thus ensuring the continuity of both the plant and its animal partner. Scientists are beginning to understand just how intimate and important these interactions are, as both plants and pollinators are threatened by extinction due to habitat loss and pollution from human activities. The recent alarm over the collapse of honeybee colonies has underscored the importance of insect pollinators not only to crops consumed by humans but also to plants that support the ecosystems we depend on.

Flower architecture has great evolutionary and economic importance. Minute differences in the size and placement of the male and female reproductive parts of a flower can determine how those flowers are pollinated--by insects, birds, animals, wind, or the flowers themselves. Genetic programs determine how the embryos will grow, when the fruit opens to disperse the seed, how the fruit is positioned to attract potential dispersers or when it falls to the ground. The method and timing of pollen dispersal from a plant can determine whether or not a plant modified to resist an insect pest will also have an effect on other more beneficial insects. Scientists are racing to understand these minute differences and interactions, even as habitat loss and climate change threaten the existence of many plants as well as their pollinators. The Floral Genome Project is a consortium of labs in the United States and abroad whose goal is to construct a database that will contain comparative data on the expression patterns for a large number of genes across many different families of flowering plants.

Starting with Linnaeus, plants and animals were formally classified on the basis of their physical characteristics—their morphology. With the revolution in DNA sequencing, or genomics, plants and animals are also classified on the basis of their gene sequences. These two areas of systematics often produced conflicting results, but as more genomes are sequenced and the functions of numerous genes studied, both zoologists and plant biologists have begun to understand that gene sequences alone cannot explain diversity. Within the last few years, scientists have begun to identify groups of genes, called networks, which control complex programs that determine an organism’s final form. In addition, the parts of the genome that do not code for proteins, the non-coding regions, are assuming greater importance in explaining the diversity found in different species of plants and animals.

Brian Hyps | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.aspb.org

Further reports about: Endress Pollen anthers diversity floral pollinator

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

nachricht Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017
25.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's Fermi catches gamma-ray flashes from tropical storms

25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics

25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017

25.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>