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 characteristicstheir 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 organisms 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.
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