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Volume 6, Pages 1923-1932
Review Article

Function and Diversification of MADS-Box Genes in Rice

1National Institute for Basic Biology, Okazaki, Aichi 444-8585, Japan
2Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Hongo, Tokyo 113-8654, Japan

Received 9 June 2006; Accepted 29 June 2006

Academic Editor: Barbara Gravendeel

Copyright © 2006 Takahiro Yamaguchi and Hiro-Yuki Hirano.


MADS-box genes play critical roles in a number of developmental processes in flowering plants, such as specification of floral organ identity, control of flowering time, and regulation of fruit development. Because of their crucial functions in flower development, diversification of the MADS-box gene family has been suggested to be a major factor responsible for floral diversity during radiation of the flowering plants. Inflorescences and flowers in the grass species have unique structures that are distinct from those in eudicots. Thus, it is plausible that the diversification of the function of MADS-box genes may have been a key driving force in the morphological divergence of the flowers and inflorescences in the grasses. Indeed, recent progress in genetic studies has shown that MADS-box genes function in flower development in Oryza sativa (rice), in support of the idea that functional diversification of the MADS-box genes was involved in evolution of the angiosperms. In this review, we summarize the functions of the major subfamilies of the MADS-box genes in rice and discuss their role in the development and evolution of rice flowers and inflorescences.