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Arabidopsis thaliana's wild relatives: an updated overview on systematics, taxonomy and evolution

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Since the introduction of Arabidopsis thaliana, the Thale Cress, to a broader scientific community in 1965, nearly 40 years passed until the phylogenetic position of this species was resolved and its closest relatives were characterized. More and more molecular data is available for Arabidopsis thaliana and it has become the most important model system among dicotyledonous plants. However, Arabidopsis thaliana provides only a limited set of traits and characters. We are now in the position that scientists move into the more diverse relatives of Arabidopsis, transferring knowledge from the model plant to these species. Hereby past taxonomy and phylogenetic concepts may lead to misunderstanding and confusion. Consequently there is much need to provide a comprehensive overview on current knowledge of systematics, evolution and diversity of Arabidopsis and its relatives, despite the several actual reviews focusing on various aspects of its taxonomy, ecology, and importance as model system considering also the closest wild relatives. Herein, we aim to critically discuss the most recent taxonomic and systematic conclusions in the light of a worldwide screening of genetic diversity within the genus Arabidopsis. We also define gaps of knowledge to focus and stimulate future research activities.
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Keywords: ARABIDOPSIS; CARDAMINOPSIS; SYSTEMATICS; TAXONOMY

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Heidelberg Institute for Plant Sciences, Biodiversity and Plant Systematics, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 345, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany;, Email: marcus.koch@urz.uni-heidelberg.de 2: Heidelberg Institute for Plant Sciences, Biodiversity and Plant Systematics, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 345, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Publication date: 2008-08-01

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