Plant Science

Simple rules generate complex shapes

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Science  14 Jun 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6445, pp. 1044-1045
DOI: 10.1126/science.364.6445.1044-d

Complex leaves arise because of local zones of growth inhibition.

PHOTO: PETER HUIJSER AND MILTOS TSIANTIS, MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR PLANT BREEDING RESEARCH

During development, complex shapes are elaborated from simple origins. Studying plant leaves, Kierzkowski et al. use live imaging and computational modeling to deconstruct the growth patterns of a simple leaf compared with those of a complex dissected leaf. Both sorts of leaf use the same tools for growth. The differing outcomes result from shifts in deployment of growth and differentiation programs. Delayed differentiation allows small protrusions to elaborate. Interspersed sites of growth inhibition accentuate protrusions. Thus, diversity in leaf shape is achieved by shifting the regulation of overall differentiation and local growth. The regulatory logic, resembling an incomplete feed-forward loop, might allow fine-tuning of shape without changing overall size.

Cell 177, 1405 (2019).

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