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Making phloem—a near-death experience

Science  22 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6199, pp. 875-876
DOI: 10.1126/science.1258711

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Summary

Differentiation in complex multicellular organisms generates a plethora of different cell types that often display drastically altered physiology, morphology, and size in comparison to the common stem cells from which they are all derived. An extreme example of differentiation is apoptosis, a programmed, active cellular suicide as the final stage of differentiation. Yet, even more fascinating are cells whose differentiation program pushes them to the edge of death but then maintains them there in a delicate balance. On page 933 of this issue Furuta et al. (1) begin to unravel the pathway of just such a cell type in plants that has lost its nuclei and depends on neighboring (nucleated) cells for survival.