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J Plant Res. 2006 Jan;119(1):31-6. Epub 2005 Nov 16.

The integration of cell proliferation and growth in leaf morphogenesis.

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  • Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK. a.fleming@sheffield.ac.uk


A number of recent publications have assessed the outcome on leaf development of targeted manipulation of cell proliferation. The results of these investigations have awakened interest in the long-standing debate in plant biology on the precise role of cell division in morphogenesis. Does cell proliferation drive morphogenesis (cell theory) or is it subservient to a mechanism which acts at the whole organ level to regulate morphogenesis (organismal theory)? In this review, the central role of growth processes (distinct from cell proliferation) in morphogenesis is highlighted and the limitations in our understanding of the basic mechanisms of plant growth control are highlighted. Finally, an attempt is made to demonstrate how sequential local co-ordination of growth might provide an interpretation of some of the recent observations on cell proliferation and leaf morphogenesis.

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