Early Events in Apical-basal Pattern Formation in Arabidopsis
Plant development is dominated by meristematic growth which continually adds new structures to the pre-existing body (Steeves and Sussex, 1989). A different mode of growth appears to prevail during a brief period of the life cycle: the developing embryo grows by disperse cell divisions, and this growth pattern may thus be termed embryonic. However, the switch from embryonic to meristematic growth is not coupled to physiological changes that signify the transition from the heterotrophic embryo to the autotrophic seedling, such as seed maturation, dormancy or germination. Embryonic growth rather seems related to developmental processes that generate the primary organisation of the plant body, including the meristems of the shoot and the root. In some flowering plant species, such as maize, the shoot meristem becomes active in the embryo, producing several leaf primordia while in others, including Arabidopsis, the shoot meristem remains nearly indistinct before seed germination (Medford, 1992). By contrast, the root meristem contributes to the formation of the seedling body in most flowering plant species (Rutishauser, 1969).
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