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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Track More Detailed Process of Plant's Development

June 26, 2013

Scientists have attempted to describe the complex process of plant's development by focusing on stem cells from which plant's three basic tissues - epidermis, supporting tissue, and vascular tissue develop. According to Dr. Dolf Weijers, professor at Wageningen UR in the Netherlands and one of the lead scientists of the project, plant's development is a complex process that takes place at a submicroscopic scale, smaller than the world of plant cells, so tools from biochemistry, cell biology, and genetics are used.  Indeed, many molecules form cells, and many cells together form tissues, which in turn form organs and finally the entire organism: the plant. A similar story applies to animals or humans.

To continue this exploration, research was required at a scale which is an order of magnitude smaller: at the level of genes and proteins and their molecular structure. This detailed research has led to the identification of important proteins that control this process. Studying the atomic structure of control proteins can provide insight into how the right genes are activated to construct the stem cells in the embryo. These examples illustrate the complexity of plant development, and the central message is that only the combined study at various levels of scale can clarify the mechanisms of plant development.

See Wageningen UR's news release at http://www.wageningenur.nl/en/news-wageningen-ur/Show/Seeking-the-roots-of-plant-development.htm.