News of the WeekPlant Genetics

A Hidden Arabidopsis Emerges Under Stress

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Science  17 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5571, pp. 1218
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5571.1218a

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The common mustard plant (Arabidopsis thaliana) may look drab, but results published online by Nature this week show that it has a surprising ability to break out into new forms--some of them weird and exotic--when it is under stress. The report's authors suggest that this ability may play an important role in evolution, possibly allowing organisms to store up alternative survival strategies and express them only when environmental challenges go beyond the normal range.