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To flower or to die!

The adaptation to the weedy opportunistic life-style through the evolution of the FLOWERING LOCUS T genes in Amaranths




RNDr. Helena Štorchová CSc., DSc.

(Institute of Experimental Botany)

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The decision to flower is an essential commitment in plant life. The intricate web of regulatory pathways is integrated by the FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) gene. Whereas detailed knowledge about the control of flowering is available for Arabidopsis, much less is known about other angiosperms. Amaranths are weedy opportunistic plants, which have to use any good chance to reproduce, otherwise they die without progeny. The precise fine-tuning of their floral induction was achieved by the multiplication and functional diversification of the FT genes. The first FT duplication occurred around the origin of Amaranthaceae and generated FTL1 and FTL2 genes. Whereas the first copy retained its conserved structure and function of the floral activator, the FTL2 gene underwent prominent changes, including exon acquisition, additional duplications or losses, and functional diversification. Thus, it became a versatile toolkit in the hands of evolution, enabling the adaptation of annual fast-cycling amaranths to the variable environment.

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