SUMMARY Although the number and form of metazoan organs are determined in the embryo, plants continuously form organs via pluripotent stem cells contained within the meristem. Flowering plants have an indeterminate meristem in their diploid generation, whereas the common ancestor of land plants is inferred to have formed an indeterminate meristem in its haploid generation, as observed in the extant basal land plants, bryophytes, including mosses. It is hypothesized that the underlying gene networks for the diploid meristem were initially present in the haploid generation of the basal land plants and were eventually co‐opted for expression in the diploid generation. In flowering plants, the class 1 KNOTTED1‐LIKE HOMEOBOX (KNOX) transcription factors are essential for the function of the indeterminate apical meristem. Here, we show that the class 1 KNOX orthologs function in the diploid organ, with determinate growth in the moss Physcomitrella patens, but do not function in the haploid indeterminate meristem. We propose that the genetic networks governing the indeterminate meristem in land plants are variable, and the networks governing the diploid indeterminate meristem with the class 1 KNOX genes likely evolved de novo in the flowering plant lineage.
Evolution and Development – Wiley
Published: Sep 1, 2008
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