PerspectivePlant Science

Delayed Gratification—Waiting to Terminate Stem Cell Identity

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Science  31 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6170, pp. 498-499
DOI: 10.1126/science.1249343

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In Arabidopsis, a small group of undifferentiated stem cells in the center of the floral meristem give rise to the flower. These stem cells produce daughter cells that differentiate into the four whorls of organs (sepals, petals, stamens, and carpels) underlying the basic flower structure. The different organ identities are determined by the complex interplay of floral organ identity genes, most of which are transcription factors. On page 10.1126/science.1248559 in this issue, Sun et al. (1) describe an elegant timing mechanism that allows transcriptional changes specified in the stem cells to be executed only in daughter cells and only after a predefined number of cell divisions.