A Small And Simple Genome, Arabidopsis And Transformation, The First Completely Sequenced Plant Genome
Arabidopsis thaliana, or thale cress, is a small flowering plant in the mustard family. Arabidopsis has no inherent agricultural value and is even considered a weed, but it is one of the favored model organisms of plant geneticists and molecular biologists, and it is the most thoroughly studied plant species at the molecular level. Model organisms have traits that make them attractive and convenient for biologists, who anticipate being able to extend their findings to other, less easily studied species. Arabidopsis is small and easy to grow, allowing researchers to cultivate it with minimal investments in effort and laboratory space. It has a short generation time, taking about six weeks for a seed to grow into a mature plant that produces more seeds. This rapid maturation enables biologists to conduct genetic cross experiments in a relatively short period of time. A single mature plant can produce over 5,000 seeds, another property that makes Arabidopsis convenient for use in genetic analysis.
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