Jansson S, Douglas CJ
Populus: A model system for plant biology
Annu. Rev. Plant Biol.: 2007 58:435-458

With the completion of the Populus trichocarpa genome sequence and the development of various genetic, genomic, and biochemical tools, Populus now offers many possibilities to study questions that cannot be as easily addressed in Arabidopsis and rice, the two prime model systems of plant biology and genomics. Tree-specific traits such as wood formation, long-term perennial growth, and seasonality are obvious areas of research, but research in other areas such as control of flowering, biotic interactions, and evolution of adaptive traits is enriched by adding a tree to the suite of model systems. Furthermore, the reproductive biology of Populus (a dioeceous wind-pollinated long-lived tree) offers both new possibilities and challenges in the study and analysis of natural genetic and phenotypic variation. The relatively close phylogenetic relationship of Populus to Arabidopsis in the Eurosid clade of Eudicotyledonous plants aids in comparative functional studies and comparative genomics, and has the potential to greatly facilitate studies on genome and gene family evolution in eudicots.

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