Orchids are one of the most species rich of all angiosperm families. Their extraordinary floral diversity, especially conspicuous labellum morphology, makes them the successful species during evolution process. Because of the fine and delicate development of the perianth, orchid provides a rich subject for studying developmental biology. However, study on molecular mechanism underling orchid floral development is still in its infancy. In this study, we developed an oligomicroarray containing 14,732 unigenes based on the information of expressed sequence tags derived from Phalaenopsis orchids. We applied the oligomicroarray to compare transcriptome among different types of floral organs including sepal, petal and labellum. We discovered that 173, 11, and 285 unigenes were highly differentially expressed in sepal, petal, and labellum, respectively. These unigenes were annotated with Gene Ontology (GO), Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways, and transcription factor family. Unigenes involved in energy metabolism, lipid metabolism, and terpenoid metabolism are significantly differentially distributed between labellum and two types of tepal (sepal and petal). Labellum-dominant unigenes encoding MADS-box and sepal-dominant unigenes encoding WRKY transcription factors were also identified. Further studies are required but data suggest that it will be possible to identify genes better adapted to sepal, petal and labellum function. The developed functional genomic tool will narrow the gap between approaches based on model organisms with plenty genomic resources and species that are important for developmental and evolutionary studies.
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