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NASC

The European Arabidopsis Stock Centre

What is Arabidopsis?

Arabidopsis is a small annual weed which belongs to the Brassicaceae (mustard or crucifer) family. Several species belong to the Arabidopsis genus, the most well known member and the one most extensively used in research is Arabidopsis thaliana(L.) Heyhn 2n=10 (common name thale cress or mouse eared cress).

Arabidopsis occurs naturally throughout temperate regions of the world including Europe, East Africa, Asia and Japan. It is also found in North America and Australia, following introduction to these regions. Its natural habitat is open free draining ground, such as poor sandy or gravelly soil and can commonly be found growing on wasteland, by carparks and railway sidings.

Although of no inherent economic value, Arabidopsis offers many advantages for rapid genetic and molecular analysis, including its small size, rapid life cycle, small simple genome, prolific seed production and the availability of numerous mutations. This weed has thus become the focus of a genome project to understand the biology of a flowering plant at the molecular level. Full details of the activities of the Genome Project are reported annually in a Progress Report.

The genetic resource centres have been established to underpin the research activities of the Arabidopsis project by maintaining and distributing seed resources to the research community.