Evolution of Reproductive Organs in Land Plants
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gene is the positive regulator of the MADS-box genes in flower primordia. The number of MADS-box genes presumably increased by gene duplications before the divergence of ferns and seed plants. Most MADS-box genes in ferns are expressed similarly in both vegetative and reproductive organs, while in gymnosperms, some MADS-box genes are specifically expressed in reproductive organs. This suggests that (1) the increase in the number of MADS-box genes and (2) the subsequent recruitment of some MADS-box genes as homeotic selector genes were important for the evolution of complex reproductive organs. The phylogenetic tree including both angiosperm and gymnosperm MADS-box genes indicates the loss of the A-function genes in the gymnosperm lineage, which is presumably related to the absence of perianths in extant gymnosperms. Comparison of expression patterns of orthologous MADS-box genes in angiosperms, Gnetales, and conifers supports the sister relationship of Gnetales and conifers over that of Gnetales and angiosperms predicted by phylogenetic trees based on amino acid and nucleotide sequences.
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