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Developmental and Molecular Changes Underlying the Vernalization-Induced Transition to Flowering in Aquilegia coerulea (James)

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Department of Biological Sciences, California State Polytechnic University Pomona, CA 91768, USA
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Plant Science Department, California State Polytechnic University Pomona, CA 91768, USA
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Department of Plants, Soils and Climate / Center for Integrated BioSystems, Utah State University, Logan UT 84322, USA
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Bioinformatics Facility, Center for Integrated BioSystems, Utah State University, Logan UT 84322, USA
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Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge MA 02138, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2019, 10(10), 734; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes10100734
Received: 12 August 2019 / Revised: 5 September 2019 / Accepted: 18 September 2019 / Published: 22 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Genetics and Genomics)
Reproductive success in plants is dependent on many factors but the precise timing of flowering is certainly among the most crucial. Perennial plants often have a vernalization or over-wintering requirement in order to successfully flower in the spring. The shoot apical meristem undergoes drastic developmental and molecular changes as it transitions into inflorescence meristem (IM) identity, which then gives rise to floral meristems (FMs). In this study, we have examined the developmental and gene expression changes underlying the transition from the vegetative to reproductive phases in the basal eudicot Aquilegia coerulea, which has evolved a vernalization response independently relative to other established model systems. Results from both our histology and scanning electron studies demonstrate that developmental changes in the meristem occur gradually during the third and fourth weeks of vernalization. Based on RNAseq data and cluster analysis, several known flowering time loci, including AqFT and AqFL1, exhibit dramatic changes in expression during the fourth week. Further consideration of candidate gene homologs as well as unexpected loci of interest creates a framework in which we can begin to explore the genetic basis of the flowering time transition in Aquilegia. View Full-Text
Keywords: vernalization; FLOWERING LOCUS T; inflorescence meristem; floral meristem; flowering; genetic pathways; Aquilegia vernalization; FLOWERING LOCUS T; inflorescence meristem; floral meristem; flowering; genetic pathways; Aquilegia
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Sharma, B.; Batz, T.A.; Kaundal, R.; Kramer, E.M.; Sanders, U.R.; Mellano, V.J.; Duhan, N.; Larson, R.B. Developmental and Molecular Changes Underlying the Vernalization-Induced Transition to Flowering in Aquilegia coerulea (James). Genes 2019, 10, 734.

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