Unequal genetic redundancies in Arabidopsis--a neglected phenomenon?

Trends Plant Sci. 2006 Oct;11(10):492-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2006.08.005. Epub 2006 Sep 1.


Genetic redundancy is a common phenomenon in Arabidopsis and is thought to be responsible for the absence of phenotypes in the majority of single loss-of-function mutants. In this review, we highlight an increasing number of examples in which redundancy between homologous genes is limited or absent despite functional equivalence of the respective proteins. In particular, we focus on cases of unequal redundancy, where the absence of a mutant phenotype in loss-of-function mutants of one gene contrasts with a strong phenotype in mutants of its homolog. In the double mutants, this phenotype is strongly enhanced. Possible explanations for such scenarios are discussed. We propose that the study of unequally redundant gene pairs offers a unique opportunity to understand global patterns of functional genome evolution.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / physiology
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Duplication
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • Arabidopsis Proteins