Perspective: How flower development genes were identified using forward genetic screens in Arabidopsis

If you weren’t around in the ’80s, you missed some great times; the music, the fashion, the flower genetics! This historical perspective article by David Smythe nicely sums up those heady days with an account of how Arabidopsis thaliana blasted into the ranks of a top model organism, in part through the uncovering of genes controlling flower development. The article describes the steps that occurred in order for these genes to be found and the models of floral development revealed, from chemical mutagenesis of dry seeds, phenotypic screening, backcrossing, and double-mutant analysis. Beyond floral organ identity, these approaches also revealed now-familiar genes involved in auxin transport and meristem maintenance and identity. (Summary by Mary Williams @PlantTeaching) Genetics 10.1093/genetics/iyad102