Model Organisms for Biomedical Research

Arabidopsis thaliana is a small flowering plant that is widely used as a model organism in plant biology. Arabidopsis is a member of the mustard (Brassicaceae) family, which includes cultivated species such as cabbage and radish. Although not of major agronomic significance, Arabidopsis offers important advantages for basic research in genetics and molecular biology:

  • Approximately 115 Mb of the 125 Mb genome has been sequenced and annotated (Nature, 408:796-815; 2000).
  • Extensive genetic and physical maps of all 5 chromosomes are available.
  • The life cycle is short--about 6 weeks from germination to seed maturation.
  • Seed production is prolific and the plant is easily cultivated in restricted space.
  • Transformation is efficient utilizing Agrobacterium tumefaciens.
  • A large number of mutant lines and genomic resources is available.
  • A. thaliana is studied by a multinational research community in academia, government and industry.

Such advantages have made Arabidopsis a model organism for studies of the cellular and molecular biology of flowering plants. The Arabidopsis Information Resource (TAIR) collects and makes available the information arising from these efforts.

For more information about this organism and the resources that have been developed for use by the community, please visit this website:

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