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Flower development of Lilium longiflorum - The Lilium information ...

Flower development of Lilium longiflorum - The Lilium information ...

INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION Lilium longiflorum and its molecular floral development Introduction Lily (Lilium spp.) is among the most traditional and beloved ornamental flowers worldwide. The genus Lilium comprises almost one hundred species, among which is the primary subject of our research, described in this thesis, the species Lilium longiflorum (Thunb.), known as trumpet lily or Easter lily. Despite the great economic importance of ornamental lily species, little is known about its biology at the molecular level so far. In a time when two plant genomes are fully sequenced, Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa, only a few genes have been characterized in Lilium spp. Possible reasons for this are discussed below and throughout this work. This thesis intends to be a contribution to bridging the fundamental research concerning transcription factors involved in development of flower morphology in model species and the applied objectives of molecular breeding for manipulating the flower morphology, endeavouring to create new cultivars with specific and novel features, more specifically in Lilium spp. Lily Floral Development Coordinated molecular interactions in lily lead to the development of beautiful organs called flowers. Lily flowers can reach up to 20 cm in length before anthesis. They are structured in concentric whorls. Six showy, petal-like organs form the first and second outermost whorls, consisting of three organs per whorl. These similar organs are denominated tepals, instead of the sepals and the petals found in the first and second whorls in model dicot species, which differ clearly in their appearance. Six stamens are displayed in two adjacent whorls (which were designated as only one whorl throughout this thesis for the sake of simplicity), and a pistil formed by three fused carpels is located in the innermost whorl. Recently, Tzeng and Yang (2001) described the floral structure and development of Lilium longiflorum. In brief, a 2-mm floral bud already has its tepal, anther and filament structures formed whereas the carpel is not fully differentiated yet, being complete only later, in a 10-mm bud. A floral bud of 30 mm has all its organs well developed, with the pistil showing stigmatic papillae, distinct style, ovary and ovules. Anthesis occurs when the bud reaches around 200 mm in length. 1

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