After reading about “Top Ten Human Genes” in Nature, we, and the twitterverse wondered, what are the most popular or well-studied genes of all time in plants? What would a similar list would look like for Arabidopsis?
Fortunately, at TAIR (The Arabidopsis Information Resource: https://www.arabidopsis.org/) we have been curating the literature and linking research articles to genes for almost two decades, so we did a little quick digging and pulled out not just the top ten, but the top twenty. Among these “greatest hits” are proteins involved in uniquely planty processes including: flowering (FLC, FT, AG, LFY, CO, AP1), photoreception/photomorphogenesis (PHYB, PHYA, CRY1,COP1,HY5), plant growth regulator signaling (ETR1, BRI1,EIN2,ABI1, ABI3), defense response (NPR1, PR1), meristem/stem cell regulation (WUS) and auxin transport (PIN1). Perhaps a bit of a surprise (at least to us) was that no ‘root’ proteins, or metabolic enzymes made the list.
TAIR’s top twenty list was generated by counting the number of manually verified links between genes and publications in TAIR. The resulting data are most likely an underestimate because the linking is generally based on matches to genes in the title/abstract only and does not include mentions that appear in the full text. Also, there are probably some Arabidopsis papers not included in the TAIR corpus. Perhaps when we have a bit more time, we can look at the historical trends, but for now we leave you with the hottest gene of 2017, FLC (23 articles so far).
Leonore Reiser, Ph.D.