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Flowering plants or angiosperms constitute the vast majority of plant species. Their evolutionary success is largely due to the efficiency of the flower as reproductive structure. Work performed on model plant species in the last 20 years has identified the LEAFY gene as a key regulator of flower development. LEAFY is a unique plant transcription factor responsible for the formation of the earliest floral stage as well as for the induction of homeotic genes triggering floral organ determination. But LEAFY is also present in non-flowering plants such as mosses, ferns and gymnosperms. Recent studies suggest that LEAFY might play a role in cell division and meristem development in basal plants, a function that is probably more ancestral than the later acquired floral function. Analyzing the evolution of the role and the biochemical properties of this peculiar regulator starts to shade light on the mysterious origin of flowering plants. © Société de Biologie, 2012.


Gilles Vachon, Gabrielle Tichtinsky, François Parcy. LEAFY, a master regulator of flower development]. Biologie aujourd'hui. 2012;206(1):63-7

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PMID: 22463997

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