Radial or Bilateral? The Molecular Basis of Floral Symmetry

Genes (Basel). 2020 Apr 6;11(4):395. doi: 10.3390/genes11040395.


In the plant kingdom, the flower is one of the most relevant evolutionary novelties. Floral symmetry has evolved multiple times from the ancestral condition of radial to bilateral symmetry. During evolution, several transcription factors have been recruited by the different developmental pathways in relation to the increase of plant complexity. The MYB proteins are among the most ancient plant transcription factor families and are implicated in different metabolic and developmental processes. In the model plant Antirrhinum majus, three MYB transcription factors (DIVARICATA, DRIF, and RADIALIS) have a pivotal function in the establishment of floral dorsoventral asymmetry. Here, we present an updated report of the role of the DIV, DRIF, and RAD transcription factors in both eudicots and monocots, pointing out their functional changes during plant evolution. In addition, we discuss the molecular models of the establishment of flower symmetry in different flowering plants.

Keywords: DIVARICATA; DRIF; MYB transcription factors; RADIALIS; flower symmetry.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antirrhinum / genetics*
  • Antirrhinum / growth & development
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Flowers / anatomy & histology*
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors