Navigation Links
'Different forms of flowers' continues to fascinate
Date:4/29/2010

Although Charles Darwin is most well-known both for his book "On the Origin of Species" and his theories on natural selection, he once stated, "I do not think anything in my scientific life has given me so much satisfaction as making out the meaning of the structure of these plants." What could be more satisfying than unraveling the mysteries of evolution?

Darwin was referring to his studies of different forms of hermaphroditic flowers that occur in a single species. In "'A case to which no parallel exists': The influence of Darwin's Different Forms of Flowers," published in the May issue of the American Journal of Botany, James Cohen discusses Darwin's pioneering work concerning the complex breeding system known as heterostyly and what scientists have discovered since Darwin's time.

"Heterostyly is one of, if not the most, complex type of breeding system found in flowering plants. The presence of heterostyly affects the morphology, ecology, development, genetics, and evolution of a species. Given the far-reaching effects of the complex breeding system, along with the fact that it appears to have evolved over 40 times independently, it is fascinating to think about the function and evolution of heterostyly," Cohen commented.

In heterostylous species, two or more different forms of flowers with both male (anthers) and female (stigmas) parts exist. The anthers and stigmas are at different heights within each form, with the anthers of one flower at the same height as the stigmas of the other flower.

Darwin stated, "The benefit which heterostyled dimorphic plants derive from the existence of the two forms is sufficiently obvious, namely, the intercrossing of distinct plants being thus ensured. Nothing can be better adapted for this end than the relative positions of the anthers and stigmas in the two forms."

"Darwin, along with many of his contemporaries, understood the importance of outcrossing and not mating with close relatives," Cohen said. "Heterostylous species provide at least two different manners in which not only to outcross, but also to avoid inbreeding. These include the morphology, which encourages outcrossing, and a barrier against fertilization by a plant's own pollen, which discourages inbreeding."

Although the presence of this unique type of breeding system is not common, it is found in many economically important plants. A variety of species, from daffodils to purple loosestrife to buckwheat to cocaine, are heterostylous, so understanding the genetics and ecology of the system could have significant economic implications.

Current research related to heterostyly involves trying to determine the underlying genetics of the breeding system. "Although heterostyly appears to be inherited in a Mendelian manner, the exact genes that control the morphology are, for the most part, still unknown," Cohen commented. "Given recent advances in molecular biology techniques, we should be able to determine the genes responsible for the heterostylous syndrome, and that will provide us with many more questions concerning the evolution, development, and ecology of the breeding system that we will address"


'/>"/>

Contact: Richard Hund
rhund@botany.org
314-577-9557
American Journal of Botany
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Adaptation to parasites drive African fishes along different evolutionary paths
2. Plants can be used to study how and why people respond differently to drugs
3. 454 Sequencing uncovers a genetic basis for different social behaviors in wasp
4. Researchers discover important tool in understanding differentiation in human embryonic stem cells
5. At the root of nutrient limitation, ecosystems are not as different as they seem
6. Mechanism for regulation of growth and differentiation of adult muscle stem cells is revealed
7. Bodily breakdown explained: How cell differentiation patterns suppress somatic evolution
8. Severe asthma may be a different form of the disease
9. Scientist postulates 4 aspects of humaniqueness differentiating human and animal cognition
10. Computation to unravel how genes are regulated and shed light on how cells become different
11. Insects evolved radically different strategy to smell
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2016)... , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid ... setting a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to ... leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track ... and body mass index, and, when they opt in, ... convenient visit to a local retail location at no ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... -- Genomics firm Nabsys has completed a financial  restructuring under ... M.D., who returned to the company in October 2015. ... including Chief Technology Officer, John Oliver , Ph.D., ... Vice President of Software and Informatics, Michael Kaiser ... Bready served as CEO of Nabsys from 2005-2014 and ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... , March 23, 2016 ... erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern ... (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein führender ... das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals ... Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... , ... Global Stem Cells Group CEO Benito Novas announced that ... GSCG affiliate Kimera Labs in Miami. , In 2004, Ross received his Ph.D. in ... hematologic disorders and the suppression of graft vs. host disease (GVHD) under UM Professor ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... , ... April 26, 2016 , ... ... announced that Ardy Arianpour has joined the company as Chief Business Officer. Arianpour, ... bringing innovative genomic technologies to market, was most recently Chief Commercial Officer of ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... April 26, 2016 , ... BioFactura, Inc ., ... A round of financing. Healthy investor interest drove significant oversubscription of the original ... biologics, known as biosimilars, to the advanced preclinical stages. , Chief Executive Officer and ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... 26, 2016 genae, a Contract ... industries, announced today the appointment of Prof. Dr. Jörn ... Balzer,s responsibilities will include all clinical, safety and risk ... feel privileged and honored with the acceptance of Prof. ... , CEO at genae. "Prof. Balzer,s impressive and extensive ...
Breaking Biology Technology: