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Arabidopsis thaliana: another "model organism"

This little plant has become to plant biology what Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans are to animal biology.

Arabidopsis is an angiosperm, a dicot from the mustard family (Brassicaceae). It is popularly known as thale cress or mouse-ear cress. While it has no commercial value — in fact is considered a weed — it has proved to be an ideal organism for studying plant development.

Some of its advantages as a model organism:

Many of the findings about how plants work — described throughout these pages — were learned from studies with Arabidopsis. (Photo courtesy of Nicole Hanley Markelz of the Plant Genome Research Outreach Program at Cornell University.)

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16 April 2014