Heterostyly is an outbreeding mechanism that has evolved independently in different angiosperm families. My laboratory has focused on identification and characterisation of the genes that control heterostyly in Primula species which produce two types of flower known as pin (long styles and low anthers), and thrum (short styles and high anthers). This reciprocal arrangement of reproductive structures promotes outcrossing between the different forms of flower which develop on different individuals. We recently completed the genome sequence of the common primrose, P. vulgaris, and in combination with genetic analyses, defined the gene cluster that controls development of the different forms of flower. Current research focuses on the functional analysis of this gene cluster and the evolution and maintenance of heterostyly in Primula species.
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