Evolution of gene expression
Historically, genetic systems have mainly been viewed as protein coding entities. Consequently, the vast majority of the available information on genetic variation is coming from protein-coding regions. However, every gene is embedded among regulatory sequences, that in conjunction with proteins encoded elsewhere, regulate the timing and location of gene expression. Thus, regulatory sequences are important for gene function. Both theoretical and empirical studies also suggest that transcriptional regulation is likely to be an important contributor to intraspecific phenotypic variation and adaptation.
In plants, there is a lack of data on natural variation in gene expression, and even less is known about the functional importance of the existing gene expression variation. We use microarrays to assess global patterns of gene expression variation within and between plant species. To study the functional importance of gene expression we also study expression variation for specific genes involved in control of flowering time and cold acclimation.