A Caltech Library Service

Prehistory and History of Arabidopsis Research

Meyerowitz, Elliot M. (2001) Prehistory and History of Arabidopsis Research. Plant Physiology, 125 (1). pp. 15-19. ISSN 0032-0889. PMCID PMC1539315. doi:10.1104/pp.125.1.15.

[img] PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The earliest non-taxonomic appearance of Arabidopsis in the literature of botany appears to be a paper by Alexander Braun in 1873, describing a mutant plant found in a field near Berlin (7). The mutation was almost certainly in theAGAMOUS gene, now well known as one of the floral ABC regulators and cloned in 1990 (54). The next notable appearance of Arabidopsis in the experimental literature was in 1907, when Friedrich Laibach (1885–1967), a student in Strasburger's laboratory in Bonn, published an account of the chromosome number of several plants. He was attempting to find a plant with a small number of large chromosomes to be used in experiments to determine the individuality of chromosomes (23). Arabidopsis was not such a plant: the chromosomes are very small. The next relevant appearance of Arabidopsis was in a 1935 paper that resulted from a Russian expedition to find a plant that could be used in genetics and cytogenetics, as Drosophila was then used (15, 51). Although the small chromosome number (incorrectly stated by Titova to be a haploid no. of three; Laibach had correctly counted five in 1907) and rapid time to flowering were considered useful features, the small size of the plant and its parts were considered a disadvantage, as was the inability to distinguish different chromosome pairs. It does not appear that Arabidopsis was ever used in the laboratory by Titova and her colleagues.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Meyerowitz, Elliot M.0000-0003-4798-5153
Additional Information:© 2001 American Society of Plant Physiologists. I would like to thank Profs. A.R. Kranz, G. P. Rédei, and I. Negrutiu for sharing their photographs and recollections of the premolecular biology of Arabidopsis, and Prof. Kranz for detailed information on Laibach's work and career. Thanks also to Prof. L. Nover, who provided additional information on F. Laibach. My laboratory's work on Arabidopsis has been funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, by the National Institutes of Health, by the U.S. Department of Energy, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and by the Human Frontiers Science Program.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
Department of AgricultureUNSPECIFIED
Human Frontiers Science ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:1
PubMed Central ID:PMC1539315
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20161206-122640101
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Elliot M. Meyerowitz Prehistory and History of Arabidopsis Research Plant Physiol. 2001 125: 15-19. doi:10.1104/pp.125.1.15
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:72597
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:06 Dec 2016 20:39
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 05:03

Repository Staff Only: item control page