Perspective ARTICLE

Front. Plant Sci., 22 June 2012 | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00137

The importance of living botanical collections for plant biology and the “next generation” of evo-devo research

  • 1 Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA
  • 2 USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station, Davis, CA, USA
  • 3 Department of Plant Biology, University of California Davis, Davis, CA, USA

Living botanical collections include germplasm repositories, long-term experimental plantings, and botanical gardens. We present here a series of vignettes to illustrate the central role that living collections have played in plant biology research, including evo-devo research. Looking toward the future, living collections will become increasingly important in support of future evo-devo research. The driving force behind this trend is nucleic acid sequencing technologies, which are rapidly becoming more powerful and cost-effective, and which can be applied to virtually any species. This allows for more extensive sampling, including non-model organisms with unique biological features and plants from diverse phylogenetic positions. Importantly, a major challenge for sequencing-based evo-devo research is to identify, access, and propagate appropriate plant materials. We use a vignette of the ongoing 1,000 Transcriptomes project as an example of the challenges faced by such projects. We conclude by identifying some of the pinch points likely to be encountered by future evo-devo researchers, and how living collections can help address them.

Keywords: botanical gardens, genomics, plant developmental biology, next generation sequencing, outreach

Citation: Dosmann M and Groover A (2012) The importance of living botanical collections for plant biology and the “next generation” of evo-devo research. Front. Plant Sci. 3:137. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00137

Received: 30 March 2012; Accepted: 06 June 2012;
Published online: 22 June 2012.

Edited by:

Elena M. Kramer, Harvard University, USA

Reviewed by:

Verónica S. Di Stilio, University of Washington, USA
Kentaro K. Shimizu, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Copyright: © 2012 Dosmann andGroover. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.

*Correspondence: Andrew Groover, USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station, Berkeley, CA, USA; Department of Plant Biology, University of California Davis, 1731 Research Park Dr, Davis, CA 95616, USA. e-mail: agroover@fs.fed.us

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