Hypothesis - Plant Rhizomes
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An important question is: are all rhizomes created equal? Just because a stem of one species grows horizontally underground, is it the same/comparable tissue/organ to the rhizome of another species? Did the genes that control rhizome development originate once, long ago, or did they originate multiple times? If once, how have they evolved since then? The hypothesis that we will test in this proposed research is that all rhizomes are comparable plant organs, just as all leaves, all flowers, and all upright stems are, regardless of the species. Yes, there is extensive morphological variation in each of these organs across the plant kingdom. And, plant scientists have made significant progress in understanding the mechanisms that control plants, especially flower and leaf development40-47. Nevertheless, we still have far to go, and working solely with now traditional model organisms cannot tell us how the diversity of form and function within the plant kingdom evolved48. And, even though many of the regulators of floral and leaf development appear to be conserved across the plant kingdom, many are not49. With that context in mind, we hypothesize that a core regulatory machinery that controls rhizome development may be conserved across the plant kingdom, even if parts of this core machinery may vary by taxa. The major goal of this proposed research is to test this hypothesis. The activities in this proposed project will seek to identify the genes important for rhizome growth and function and use this information to test this hypothesis.
Last updated: 16 April 2010