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Editorial

Plant genomics: sowing the seeds of success

Gemma D Bilsborough

Author affiliations

Genome Biology, BioMed Central, 236 Gray's Inn Road, London WC1X 8HB, UK

Citation and License

Genome Biology 2013, 14:404  doi:10.1186/gb-2013-14-6-404

Published: 28 June 2013

First paragraph (this article has no abstract)

The exquisite beauty of plants and their fundamental importance to life on Earth has captivated scientists throughout history. During antiquity, Theophrastus began the systematic characterization of plants according to Aristotle's principles of taxonomy. Centuries later, Mendel's studies of the inheritance of traits in pea plants founded the field of genetics, and much of Darwin's work on the evolution of forms by natural selection was supported by experiments on plants. By 2000, the seeds of success were sown in the field of plant genomics with the sequencing of the genome of Arabidopsis thaliana [1], a ubiquitous weed that was adopted as the plant model species in the 1990s due to its many desirable traits, such as a short generation time, small diploid genome, and self-compatibility. Prior to this adoption of Arabidopsis as a model species, studying a panoply of agronomically and economically important species, such as maize, rice, tomato, petunia and snapdragon, had been favored.