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1.  How Many Genes are Needed to Make a Pollen Tube? Lessons from Transcriptomics 
Annals of Botany  2007;100(6):1117-1123.
Background
Pollen is the male gametophyte of higher plants. Upon pollination, it germinates and develops into a fast-growing cytoplasmic extension, the pollen tube, which ultimately delivers the sperm into the ovary. The biological relevance of its role, and the uniqueness of this kind of cellular organization, have made pollen the focus of many approaches, and it stands today as one of the best-known models in plant cell biology. In contrast, the genetic background of its development has been until recently largely unknown. Some genes involved have been described and a few functional mutants have been characterized, but only to a limited extent and allowing only a limited understanding of the regulatory mechanisms. Yet, being a relatively simple organ (2 or 3 cells), pollen stands as an excellent target for molecular-biology-based approaches.
Recent Progress
Recent studies on Arabidopsis thaliana have characterized the transcriptional profile of pollen grains and microgametogenesis in comparison to sporophytic tissues. They underline the unique characteristics of pollen, not only in terms of a strongly reduced set of genes being expressed, but also in terms of the functions of the proteins encoded and the pathways they are involved in. These approaches have expanded the number of genes with known expression in pollen from a few hundred to nearly eight thousand. While for the first time allowing systems and/or gene-family approaches, this information also expands dramatically the possibility of hypothesis-driven experimentation based on specific gene function predictions. Recent studies reveal this to be the case in, for example, transcriptional regulation, cell-cycle progression and gene-silencing mechanisms in mature pollen.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcm208
PMCID: PMC2759250  PMID: 17951360
Pollen; transcriptome; proteome; microarray; Arabidopsis
2.  The ABC Model and its Applicability to Basal Angiosperms 
Annals of Botany  2007;100(2):155-163.
Background
Although the flower is the central feature of the angiosperms, little is known of its origin and subsequent diversification. The ABC model has long been the unifying paradigm for floral developmental genetics, but it is based on phylogenetically derived eudicot models. Synergistic research involving phylogenetics, classical developmental studies, genomics and developmental genetics has afforded valuable new insights into floral evolution in general, and the early flower in particular.
Scope and Conclusions
Genomic studies indicate that basal angiosperms, and by inference the earliest angiosperms, had a rich tool kit of floral genes. Homologues of the ABCE floral organ identity genes are also present in basal angiosperm lineages; however, C-, E- and particularly B-function genes are more broadly expressed in basal lineages. There is no single model of floral organ identity that applies to all angiosperms; there are multiple models that apply depending on the phylogenetic position and floral structure of the group in question. The classic ABC (or ABCE) model may work well for most eudicots. However, modifications are needed for basal eudicots and, the focus of this paper, basal angiosperms. We offer ‘fading borders’ as a testable hypothesis for the basal-most angiosperms and, by inference, perhaps some of the earliest (now extinct) angiosperms.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcm117
PMCID: PMC2735328  PMID: 17616563
ABC model; floral identity genes; perianth evolution; basal angiosperms; fading borders model

Results 1-2 (2)