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MOLECULAR GENETIC ANALYSIS OF TRICHOME DEVELOPMENT IN ARABIDOPSIS.

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1
Department of Genetics and Cell Biology and Department of Plant Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108.

Abstract

Two basic questions in developmental biology are: How does a cell know when it should or should not differentiate, and once a cell is committed to differentiate, how is that process controlled? The first process regulates the arrangement or pattern of the various cell types, whereas the second makes cells functionally distinct. Together, these two processes define plant morphogenesis. Trichome development in Arabidopsis provides an excellent model to analyze these questions. First, trichome development in Arabidopsis is a relatively simple process. A single epidermal cell differentiates into a unicellular trichome. Second, this differentiation occurs in a nonrandom pattern on the plant surface. Finally, the process is amenable to genetic analysis because many mutations that affect trichome differentiation do not alter other aspects of plant development. Thus far, more than 20 genes affecting trichome development have been identified. This review examines the current state of our understanding of these genes.

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