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 Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin 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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>