One goal of this book is to highlight the aspects of molecular biology that are unique to plants, and that represent mechanisms that cannot be understood simply by studying animals, yeast or bacteria. We therefore need to spend some time discussing what we mean by the word “plant”, which, perhaps surprisingly, does not have a simple or universally accepted definition. When most people think of a plant, they generally immediately come up with an image of a tomato plant, or a petunia, or corn.
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A scientist might think of Arabidopsis thaliana, the tiny weed that has been domesticated by molecular biologists. All these are examples of flowering plants (angiosperms), which are the dominant forms of land plants on Earth today. The flowering plants represent a large group that originated in the early Cretaceous (∼140 million years ago, although the exact date is subject to much current debate); the group has subsequently diversified to produce most trees, shrubs, and herbs. The flowering plants include more than 300 000 species; only a few thousand are cultivated, and surprisingly, only a few of these – fewer than twenty – produce the vast majority of the food for all of humanity
The term “plant” is often used to mean “land plant”, a much larger group that includes the flowering plants, but also the gymnosperms, ferns, lycophytes, mosses, hornworts and liverworts. This large group is monophyletic, a term that refers to all being descendants of a common ancestor, and is often called the Embryophytes because all members produce embryos retained on the parent plant. A phylogeny of the Embryophyta is presented in Figure 1, which is assembled on the basis of the main characteristics that define the major groups of plants. Clades (or groups) within the land plants include the seed plants (flowering plants plus gymnosperms, distinguished by how they bear their seeds) and other vascular plants , in which the
Plant Genes, Genomes and Genetics provides a comprehensive treatment of all aspects of plant gene expression. Unique in explaining the subject from a plant perspective, it highlights the importance of key processes, many first discovered in plants, that impact how plants develop and interact with the environment. This text covers topics ranging from plant genome structure and the key control points in how genes are expressed, to the mechanisms by which proteins are generated and how their activities are controlled and altered by posttranslational modifications.
Written by a highly respected team of specialists in plant biology with extensive experience in teaching at undergraduate and graduate level, this textbook will be invaluable for students and instructors alike. Plant Genes, Genomes and Genetics also includes:
• specific examples that highlight when and how plants operate differently from other organisms;
• special sections that provide in-depth discussions of particular issues;
• end-of-chapter problems to help students recapitulate the main concepts;
• rich, full-colour illustrations and diagrams clearly showing important processes in plant gene expression;
• a companion website with PowerPoint slides, downloadable figures, and answers to the questions posed in the book.
Aimed at upper level undergraduates and graduate students in plant biology, this text is equally suited for advanced agronomy and crop science students inclined to understand molecular aspects of organismal phenomena. It is also an invaluable starting point for professionals entering the field of plant biology.
Medical Books: Plant Genes, Genomes and Genetics – 2015