Coordination of organ identity and symmetry establishment in flower organs


Geometric features are embedded in the body of living organisms such as plants, animals, and fungi. A remarkable geometric feature shared by multicellular organisms is the distribution of identical body parts around an imaginary axis, known as SYMMETRY.

Symmetry in biology is not only a very fascinating process to be understood, but also a necessity as it provides the foundation for organ shape and function. Thus, symmetry establishment and breaking ultimately support adaptation and evolutionary advantages.

Despite its fundamental importance, how a type of symmetry, i.e., bilateral and radial symmetry, is established and/or switched during the development of multicellular organisms is still poorly understood. Symmetry foundation, the polarity of the body-axes, and cell/tissue fate determination are intertwined processes during multicellular development of both animals and plants.

This project will investigate how tissue/organ identity and polarity are coordinated with symmetry establishment during the development of flower organs in Arabidopsis thaliana, with the final aim to discover the genetic, molecular and cellular principles necessary to set up a ground symmetric type during plant organogenesis.

The research programme and environment will provide the student with the opportunity to develop the skills and expertise to work at the cutting edge of biological science, in a highly stimulating environment.

Moreover, they will be inducted into the existing JIC postgraduate training and mentoring programme, and benefit from attending relevant national and international conferences and outreach events to communicate their results and networking within the wider academic community.


2022 – Floral symmetry: The geometry of plant reproduction. Jiang Y and Moubayidin L. Emerging Topics in Life Sciences. In press.

2021 – Coordination of biradial-to-radial symmetry and tissue polarity by HD-ZIP II proteins. Carabelli M, Turchi L, Morelli G, Østergaard L, Ruberti I, Moubayidin L. Nature Communications. 2021 Jul 14;12(1):4321.

2017 – Gynoecium formation: an intimate and complicated relationship. Moubayidin L and Østergaard L. Curr Opin Genetics & Development. 2017 Aug;45:15-21.

2014 – Dynamic control of auxin distribution imposes a bilateral-to-radial symmetry switch during gynoecium development. Moubayidin L, Ostergaard L. Current Biology. 2014 Nov 17;24(22):2743-8.