Arabidopsis gene knockout: phenotypes wanted

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2001 Apr;4(2):111-7. doi: 10.1016/s1369-5266(00)00145-x.


Gene knockout is considered to be a major component of the functional genomics toolbox, and is aimed at revealing the function of genes discovered through large-scale sequencing programs. In the past few years, several Arabidopsis populations mutagenized with insertion elements, such as the T-DNA of Agrobacterium or transposons, have been produced. These large populations are routinely screened for insertions into specific genes, allowing mass-isolation of knockout lines. Although many Arabidopsis knockouts have already been obtained, few of them have been reported to present informative phenotypes that provide a direct clue to gene function. Although functional redundancy explains the lack of phenotypical alterations in some cases, it also appears that many mutations are conditional and/or do not alter plant morphology even in the presence of severe physiological defects. Consequently, gene knockout per se is not sufficient to assess gene function and must be integrated into a more global approach for determining biological functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Gene Deletion*
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Phenotype