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Open AccessArticle

The Evolution of the KANADI Gene Family and Leaf Development in Lycophytes and Ferns

1
The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY 10458, USA
2
Biology department, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, NY 10016, USA
3
Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth, TX 76107, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2019, 8(9), 313; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants8090313
Received: 1 July 2019 / Revised: 16 August 2019 / Accepted: 20 August 2019 / Published: 30 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue From Genes to Shape and Function: Leaf Morphogenesis at Play)
Leaves constitute the main photosynthetic plant organ and even though their importance is not debated, the origin and development of leaves still is. The leaf developmental network has been elucidated for angiosperms, from genes controlling leaf initiation, to leaf polarity and shape. There are four KANADI (KAN) paralogs in Arabidopsis thaliana needed for organ polarity with KAN1 and KAN2 specifying abaxial leaf identity. Yet, studies of this gene lineage outside angiosperms are required to better understand the evolutionary patterns of leaf development and the role of KAN homologs. We studied the evolution of KAN genes across vascular plants and their expression by in situ hybridization in the fern, Equisetum hyemale and the lycophyte Selaginella moellendorffii. Our results show that the expression of KAN genes in leaves is similar between ferns and angiosperms. However, the expression patterns observed in the lycophyte S. moellendorffii are significantly different compared to all other vascular plants, suggesting that the KAN function in leaf polarity is likely only conserved across ferns, gymnosperms, and angiosperms. This study indicates that mechanisms for leaf development are different in lycophytes compared to other vascular plants. View Full-Text
Keywords: Equisetum; ferns; in situ hybridization; lycophytes; KANADI; megaphyll; microphyll; plant evo-devo; Selaginella; telome theory Equisetum; ferns; in situ hybridization; lycophytes; KANADI; megaphyll; microphyll; plant evo-devo; Selaginella; telome theory
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Zumajo-Cardona, C.; Vasco, A.; Ambrose, B.A. The Evolution of the KANADI Gene Family and Leaf Development in Lycophytes and Ferns. Plants 2019, 8, 313.

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