IMAGES: Watch the Grass Grow

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Science  18 Jan 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5554, pp. 411
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5554.411a

Plants can't run, jump, fly, or swim, but they are still more active than many baseball players. Screening at Plants-In-Motion are 21 time-lapse movies that reveal the almost imperceptible movements of plants.

Tended by botanist Roger Hangarter of Indiana University, Bloomington, the site captures plants in action: Roots snake through the soil, flowers furl and unfurl, bean plants deploy their leaves in the morning and tuck them away at night. Like spectators at the Kentucky Derby turning to watch the horses pass by, a row of tomato seedlings swivels in unison, stimulated by light shining from the side. The films illustrate concepts such as geotropism and phototropism (movements in response to gravity and light) and daily cycles of activity.

More than a dozen unusual images await you at this site from a Cambridge University lab studying cell interactions during root development. There are three-dimensional models of cell arrangements at the root tip and several views of segments tagged with green fluorescent protein, which allows researchers to identify specific cell types and monitor their fate.

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