Document Type

Article

Subject Area(s)

Botany

Abstract

Flowers exhibit amazing morphological diversity in many traits, including their size. In addition to interspecific flower size differences, many species maintain significant variation in flower size within and among populations. Flower size variation can contribute to reproductive isolation of species and thus has clear evolutionary consequences. In this review we integrate information on flower size variation from both evolutionary and developmental biology perspectives. We examine the role of flower size in the context of mating system evolution. In addition, we describe what is currently known about the genetic basis of flower size based on quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping in several different plant species and molecular genetic studies in model plants, primarily Arabidopsis thaliana. Work in Arabidopsis suggests that many independent pathways regulate floral organ growth via effects on cell proliferation and/or cell expansion.

Included in

Botany Commons

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