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Title: The role of class 1 KNOX genes in sporophyte evolution
Author: Frangedakis, Eftychios
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 4560
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Land plants are characterized by the alternation of two generations: the haploid gametophyte and the diploid sporophyte. As land plants evolved from bryophytes to vascular plants, the sporophyte became the dominant generation in the life cycle. The sporophytes of bryophytes are developmentally simple structures characterized by determinate growth. In contrast, the sporophytes of vascular plants diverged to become highly variable and often complex structures with indeterminate growth. KNOTTED1-LIKE HOMEOBOX (KNOX) genes encode homeodomain containing transcription factors that are key regulators of sporophyte development. KNOX genes are divided into two subclasses, class 1 and class 2. The critical role of class 1 KNOX genes in the apical growth of all extant land plants studied to date, suggests that modifications to class 1 KNOX gene function may have played an important role in sporophyte evolution. However, the nature of any such modifications is largely unknown. In this study, a number of cross-species complementation experiments were carried out to determine the extent to which class 1 KNOX gene function is conserved between different land plant groups. The role of KNOX genes in hornworts was also investigated because hornworts are believed to be the sister group to vascular plants. The work presented in this thesis demonstrates that the function of class 1 KNOX genes is conserved between lycophytes and angiosperms. In contrast, the function of class 1 KNOX genes appears to have diversified between bryophytes and vascular plants. Collectively, these results indicate increased complexity of class 1 KNOX gene function during the evolution of land plants.
Supervisor: Langdale, Jane Alison Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: evolution ; development ; land plants.