Post-embryonic Hourglass Patterns Mark Ontogenetic Transitions in Plant Development

Hajk Georg Drost*, Julia Bellstädt, Diarmuid S. Ó'Maoiléidigh, Anderson T. Silva, Alexander Gabel, Claus Weinholdt, Patrick T. Ryan, Bas J.W. Dekkers, Leónie Bentsink, Henk W.M. Hilhorst, Wilco Ligterink, Frank Wellmer, Ivo Grosse, Marcel Quint

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The historic developmental hourglass concept depicts the convergence of animal embryos to a common form during the phylotypic period. Recently, it has been shown that a transcriptomic hourglass is associated with this morphological pattern, consistent with the idea of underlying selective constraints due to intense molecular interactions during body plan establishment. Although plants do not exhibit a morphological hourglass during embryogenesis, a transcriptomic hourglass has nevertheless been identified in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Here, we investigated whether plant hourglass patterns are also found postembryonically. We found that the two main phase changes during the life cycle of Arabidopsis, from embryonic to vegetative and from vegetative to reproductive development, are associated with transcriptomic hourglass patterns. In contrast, flower development, a process dominated by organ formation, is not. This suggests that plant hourglass patterns are decoupled from organogenesis and body plan establishment. Instead, they may reflect general transitions through organizational checkpoints.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1158-1163
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • developmental hourglass
  • floral transition
  • germination
  • plant development
  • transcriptomics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Post-embryonic Hourglass Patterns Mark Ontogenetic Transitions in Plant Development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Drost, H. G., Bellstädt, J., Ó'Maoiléidigh, D. S., Silva, A. T., Gabel, A., Weinholdt, C., Ryan, P. T., Dekkers, B. J. W., Bentsink, L., Hilhorst, H. W. M., Ligterink, W., Wellmer, F., Grosse, I., & Quint, M. (2016). Post-embryonic Hourglass Patterns Mark Ontogenetic Transitions in Plant Development. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 33(5), 1158-1163.