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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2010 Feb;13(1):46-52. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2009.10.004. Epub 2009 Nov 13.

Integrating physical stress, growth, and development.

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Laboratoire de Reproduction et Développement des Plantes, INRA, CNRS, ENS, Université de Lyon, 46 Allée d'Italie, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France.


Linking the gene regulatory network to morphogenesis is a central question in developmental biology. Shape relies on the combined actions of biochemistry and biophysics, two parameters that are under local genetic control. The blooming of molecular biology since the 1970s has promoted a biochemical view of development, leaving behind the contribution of physical forces. Recently, the development of new techniques, such as live imaging, micromechanical approaches, and computer modeling, has revitalized the biomechanics field. In this review, we use shoot apical meristem development to illustrate how biochemistry and biomechanics cooperate to integrate the local cellular gene input into global growth patterns.

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