MADS box is a conserved sequence motif found in a family of transcription factors, the MADS-box protein family. The length of the MADS-box reported by various researchers varies somewhat, but typical lengths are in the range of 168 to 180 base pairs.

Origin of name

The name is an acronym that refers to the genes in which the sequence element was first identified:


The element encodes the MADS-domain that have DNA-binding properties. In plants, MADS-box genes have undergone a substantial radiation and include among others floral homeotic genes (such as AGAMOUS and DEFICIENS) that participate in the determination of floral organ identity according to The ABC Model of Flower Development.

In Arabidopsis the MADS box genes SOC1 and FLC have been shown to have an important role in the integration of molecular flowering time pathways. These genes are essential for the correct timing of flowering, and help to ensure that fertilization occurs at the time of maximal reproductive potential.


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