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Crop Biotech Update

How Plants Grow and Develop

August 13, 2014

For a long time, it has been unclear to scientists how the crucial processes of growth and pattern formation in plants were controlled during tissue formation. Recently, though, biochemists from Wageningen University discovered that pattern formation of the vascular tissues take place when the embryo only contains four vascular precursor cells.

The research group showed that a genetic network controls the orientation of cell divisions during a plant's vascular tissue development. This network switches on a set of genes, causing the production of the plant hormone cytokinin that, in turn, regulates cell division and the orientation of those divisions.

The team discovered that the secret of patterning is thus the combination of a common cell wall connection and a slight difference in concentration of the plant hormone auxin. The genetic circuit discovery by these researchers makes sure the four cells further develop into a complete vascular tissue containing distinct cell types.

For more information, read the news release at