Bilateral flower symmetry has evolved multiple times during flowering plant diversification, is associated with specialized pollination, and is hypothesized to have contributed to flowering plant species richness. The genes and genetic interactions that control bilateral symmetry are well understood in the model species Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus). I review recent insights into the genetic control of symmetry in Snapdragon. I summarize how this foundational genetic work has been integrated with mathematical modeling approaches, which together provided new insights into the control of quantitative aspects of petal shape. Lastly, I review how evolutionary studies, stemming from knowledge of the genetic control of symmetry in Snapdragon flowers, have revealed extensive parallel recruitment of a similar genetic program during repeated evolution of bilateral symmetry.
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