Since the sequencing of the nuclear genome of Arabidopsis thaliana ten years ago, various large-scale analyses of gene function have been performed in this model species. In particular, the availability of collections of lines harbouring random T-DNA or transposon insertions, which include mutants for almost all of the ∼27,000 A. thaliana genes, has been crucial for the success of forward and reverse genetic approaches. In the foreseeable future, genome-wide phenotypic data from mutant analyses will become available for Arabidopsis, and will stimulate a flood of novel in-depth genefunction analyses. In this review, we consider the present status of resources and concepts for systematic studies of gene function in A. thaliana. Current perspectives on the utility of loss-of-function and gain-of-function mutants will be discussed in light of the genetic and functional redundancy of many A. thaliana genes.
Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana, forward genetics, gain of function, loss of function, mutant, mutation, phenotype, reverse genetics, transposon, T-DNA
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