To B or not to B a flower: The role of DEFICIENS and GLOBOSA orthologs in the evolution of the angiosperms

Laura M. Zahn, J. Leebens-Mack, C. W. DePamphilis, H. Ma, G. Theissen

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148 Scopus citations


DEFICIENS (DEF) and GLOBOSA (GLO) function in petal and stamen organ identity in Antirrhinum and are orthologs of APETALA3 and PISTILLATA in Arabidopsis. These genes are known as B-function genes for their role in the ABC genetic model of floral organ identity. Phylogenetic analyses show that DEF and GLO are closely related paralogs, having originated from a gene duplication event after the separation of the lineages leading to the extant gymnosperms and the extant angiosperms. Several additional gene duplications followed, providing multiple potential opportunities for functional divergence. In most angiosperms studied to date, genes in the DEF/GLO MADS-box subfamily are expressed in the petals and stamens during flower development. However, in some angiosperms, the expression of DEF and GLO orthologs are occasionally observed in the first and fourth whorls of flowers or in nonfloral organs, where their function is unknown. In this article we review what is known about function, phylogeny, and expression in the DEF/GLO subfamily to examine their evolution in the angiosperms. Our analyses demonstrate that although the primary role of the DEF/GLO subfamily appears to be in specifying the stamens and inner perianth, several examples of potential sub- and neofunctionalization are observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-240
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Heredity
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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